SPLENDID BOTANICAL WORK.
EDWARDS'S BOTANICAL REGISTER; or Ornamental
Flower Garden and Shrubbery. No. VIII. for October 1828.
To be continued Monthly. Price 4*.
Each Number contains Eight finely coloured Plates, to equal
Drawings, taken from Life,of the handsomest Plants and Shrubs
grown in the Public and Private Establishments of this Country,
(which Establishments are specified,) accompanied by their
History, Mode of Treatment in Cultivation, Propagation, &c.
Continued by JOHN LINDLEY, Esq., F.L.S., Professor of
Botany at the London University, &c. &c.
" What we consider the most valuable feature of this Work, and what
distinguishes it peculiarly in its class, is the judicious selection of its subjects
and the constant introduction of greenhouse and hardy flowers and shrubs, in
preference to those which are to be preserved only in the hot-house ; of
which, however, a sufficient proportion is retained to render the Register
useful to all classes of readers," — Literary Gazette, March 15, 1828.
" Mr. Douglas has sent home, to the Horticultural Society, more new and
beautiful hardy herbaceous plants, from North America, than were ever be-
fore introduced by an individual from any country. These are beautifully
figured in the Botanical Register, and are. the more valuable as being fit for
the open garden in every part of the Island. *****
'•' The Botanical Register, from containing most or all of the new plants
introduced by the Horticultural Society, from the great care with which its
plates are executed, and the judicious remarks on culture and general habit
by Mr. Lindley, is, in consequence, the superior publication." — Loudon's
Magazine of Botany, fyc. No. I. for May I.
LIFE AND REMAINS
EDITED BY HIS FRIEND
" Thus baffled at every point, my affections outraged wherever they
would attach themselves ; I became sullen, silent, and desponding ; and my
feelings, driven back upon mvsdif entered and preyed upon mine own
^ «^ The Young Italian.
JAMES RIDGWAY, PICCADILLY.
| 9 2 v
SHACKELL AND BAYLIS, JOHNSONS-COURT, FLEET-STREET.
GEOFFREY CRAYON, Esq.
Among the volumes which belonged to my late
friend, none bear more evident marks of frequent
perusal than k The Sketch Book ;' and the numer-
ous marginal annotations throughout, fully testify
the great admiration in which he held the talents
of its Author.
Although to concur in a general opinion argue
no claim upon particular indulgence, I cannot
otherwise qualify the presumption of thus dedi-
cating to you a portion of his Works.
I am, &c.
The Life of Wilmot Warwick 17
Remains — The Odd Gentleman 75
Christmas Night 87
The Haunted Mill 103
The Dead Arm, and Ghost of Caesar 125
The Odd Gentleman and Old Maid 136
The Smuggler 153
The Poacher 169
The Wig 189
Travelling Companions 223
Henry Halworth 235
St. Valentine's Day 255
Gordon , 269
The Painter's Account of Himself 297
LIFE AND REMAINS
" After life's fitful fever, he sleeps well."
I was one evening sitting alone in my dining-
room, reposing in all the luxury of a stuffed arm-
chair and slippers, and enjoying (if enjoyment it
may be called) that sensation of drowsy lassitude,
the natural consequence of a hearty meal, when our
appetite has been previously whetted by fasting and
fatigue. My eyes were fixed upon an old ancestral
portrait which hungabove the mantel-shelf, but their
" sense" had no more to do with it, than a ship with
the anchor from which she has parted in a gale. My
imagination, in short, boldly independent of all
reasonable bounds, flew about from one subject to
another, without resting on any — now carrying me
to the Black Hole at Calcutta — then taking a short
cut over Mont Blanc — and anon transplanting me
from the gloomy grandeurs of an Alpine solitude, to
the bustling purlieus of the Stock Exchange.
A great chasm in the centre of the fire might
reasonably have urged the necessity of a poker —
but it did no such thing — it gave a sentimental turn
to my reflections, and my heart yearned at the loss
of some friends, and the absence of others. Memory
then led me a long jaunt through the scenes of my
youth, retracing the harmless follies of my child-
hood, and reassembling the companions of my in-
fancy — Some, alas! were in their graves — and
Warwick, (poor Wilmot !) where was he ?
My thoughts were becoming confused. I shut
my eyes from very languor — opened them again —
closed them a second time— peeped once more
through my eyelids, and was about to sink into the
arms of " Nature's soft nurse," when the chords of
a guitar, struck by some itinerant musician, roused
me from my stupor.
Never was my mind more fitted for the full enjoy-
ment of dulcet sounds than at this moment, and the
beautiful little air of "Pescator delPonde," stole over
my wandering senses with a peculiar charm. The
singing was not amiss, and the accompaniment toler-
ably managed. " Give that fellow a shilling," said
T to my servant, who now came in with the tea
things — " Give him a shilling, Adam, and ask him
to play something else."
" I'll ask him to play something else, and give
him the shilling aftenvards," replied the cautious
Adam ; nor could I refuse him an approving smile
at the time, though the recollection of his well
meant policy is now ever accompanied with a sigh !
The poor musician gave me the due sum of me-
lody and departed.
He visited my door occasionally afterwards, al-
ways receiving his shilling ; and old Adam, who
dearly loved gossip, would sometimes exchange a
few words with him. He managed to learn that
the poor singer had seen better days, but vainly
attempted to discover his name, or any particulars
relating to his history. — " But, he is most likely a
discharged valet," the old fellow would say, and in
a tone which at once proved that he was not a little
displeased at having his curiosity checked.
w And pray, Adam,' 1 said I, " what sort of a
looking man is he T*
" Why, Sir, it is in general so dark that his
face and figure are not over plain to be seen ; but,
from his grammar, and that like, 'twould seem as
though he were something of a gentleman — that is
to say, so far as I judge of him when he speaks Eng-
lish. As to the forrun lingo in some of his songs, I
know naught about it. Sure enough, it must be
cold work for the poor fellow this weather ; for,
as I take it, he can't find much warmth, in thrum-
ming o' those cat-guts."
" Next time he comes," said I, " tell him to
walk into the hall ; and, together with his shilling,
Adam, give him a glass of j r our home-brewed."
" Aye," replied Adam, " that be o' the right
sort, Sir ; if there be any thing particularly calcu-
lated to make me sing, it be a draught o' that same
On the musician's next appearing, he was, ac-
cordingly, told to walk into the hall ; " but," said
Adam, (in relating the matter afterwards to his
master), " he would do no such thing: and, egad,
what's far worse than all, he took it into his head to
refuse my home-brewed, which," continued he, in
an affected tone of indignation, " will do more good
to his soul, than his music will to mine.'' 9
'Twas strange! — I went to the door myself,
intending to speak to the man, but he was gone.
According to Adam's account, he did not seem
offended at being asked into the house ; but, on the
contrary, much affected by the intended kindness of
the offer ; and it was in a tone of considerable agi-
tation, but totally free from pride, that he stated his
not being accustomed to enter people's houses in that
capacity — " in that capacity ?" — I was perplexed.
Although his visits to my door were from that
time discontinued, I could indistinctly hear him for
several succeeding nights, singing in the distance.
This gave additional impetus to my curiosity. I
thought once or twice of conferring with him in the
street — of following him home to his lodging — in
short, of fathoming his mystery ; but, like people in
genera], I hesitated to perform till opportunity had
passed, and a fortnight elapsed without my hearing
any thing more of him. I could never contemplate
his singular conduct without thinking there was
something in it which merited attention ; and, re-
gretting that I had been so backward when the
means of obtaining information were probably in my
power, I determined, should they again offer, to
secure the advantage.
At length I received a note, directed — " To the
Master of No. — , Gloucester-Place.^ On opening
it I read as follows : —
" The poor musician whom you have lately so
liberally patronized, has little reason for supposing
that the pride which withheld him from entering
your house a fortnight back, will recommend him
to your notice now — perhaps, however, his misfor-
" He has had to thank many of your neighbours
for a shilling ; but you are the only one that can
reprove him for being above his situation, as you
alone have given him an opportunity of shewing
that he is so. His singing is now over : and he can
have nothing more to do with music, except it be in
the form of a funeral dirge.
" He is on his death-bed ! — sinking under the
effects of a cold which attacked him during one of
his nocturnal rambles ; — "
Without waiting to peruse any more of this
letter, I desired the little girl who brought it to
conduct me instantly to the musician's abode.
On reaching the poor fellow's bed-side, I found
him feebly answering the apothecary's inquiries.
This done, he raised himself upon his pillow, and
turning towards me, apologized for the strangeness
of his conduct, and begged that I would sit down
We had scarcely exchanged a dozen words
before I had occasion to mention my name. The
poor fellow looked surprised — u Vernon P 1 he ex-
claimed, with a deep-fetched sigh, and again re-
peated my name, as if it were associated with some
of the past events of his life.
I regarded him with earnestness, and the gaze of
my helpless companion was equally searching.
u Good God ! v he exclaimed, " can it be Henry
I became agitated, hardly knowing why, and
moved by some vague suspicion, alluded to the
place of my early education —
u 'Tis he !" he exclaimed, with a convulsive
utterance ; and falling back upon his pillow, he
faintly added, " Henry Vernon, we were school-
" For Heaven's sake," said I, " explain your-
self. Are my suspicions right ? Do I not recognize
in you the likeness of my earliest friend, Wilmot
" You see, indeed, his person," replied he,
taking my hand, " though I wonder you should
recognize any likeness between what I now am, and
what I then was."
The mutual happiness elicited by this sudden
arid extraordinary recognition was but of short
duration. After pausing some minutes to regain
his composure, he continued, " Thank God, you
will own me, Vernon ! As you have acted thus
far in my behalf, you will, I am sure, remain my
friend to the end. I shall not trouble you long —
death has advanced upon the last hold of my
existence, and his conquest will be easy and
immediate. Often have I arraigned the hard fate
which parted us — I have now to bless the good
fortune which has brought about this interview,
and at last conducted me to your bosom, on
which my lacerated heart may repose a few mo-
ments, ere it ceases to throb, and leaves me at rest
for ever !"
" Nay, do not talk in this manner/' I replied,
" you shall be removed immediately to my resi-
dence. " The medical attendant shook his head, in
token of the impossibility of such a step.
" No, my dear Vernon,*'' said Wilmot, smiling,
46 do not think of that, I shall soon be removed to
my own house — the only one I shall have ever had —
the only one I have now any hope or wish to in-
In the course of the day he grew considerably
worse, and though my curiosity to know something
of his history was maddening, the apothecary for-
bade any interruption to his quiet. I, therefore,
sat by his bedside in silence, bathed in tears, watch-
ing him with the most painful anxiety, and com-
paring the disfigured form of the poor slumberer
beside me with that of my school-fellow eight years
Wilmot at length opened his eyes, somewhat
refreshed by sleep, and desired to be raised upon
" If you knew," said he, " the calm which now
pervades my sinking soul — the hope that animates
me, and the confidence on which that hope is
grounded — you would neither pity my present
state, nor lament my past misfortunes. For my
own part," continued he (laying his hand gently
upon mine, and speaking in a more cheerful tone,
as if to suppress the grief which he perceived swell-
ing within me)—" for my awn part," said he,
" I forget the past in contemplating the prospect
before me. The present is all peace — the future all
happiness. You will want to know something of
my history when I am dead — nay, my good friend,
do not let an allusion to my death have so grievous
an effect upon you. We have been separated for
eight years. We are now going to separate again.
The interval betwixt this and the time when we
shall next meet, may be something less or some-
thing greater than the time which has elapsed since
our last parting ; aye, that was indeed a miserable
hour; but this — considering all things, Vernon —
should be comparatively happy. Therefore," said
he, resuming that part of his subject which my
tears had for the time suspended, " when I am
dead, open this packet. Among the many literary
trifles which it contains, will be found some memo-
randa of those circumstances, which, having thus
once more alluded to, I bury in oblivion, not suf-
fering the painful recollection of them to embitter
my last earthly moments. I feel faint,'*' said he,
sinking upon his bed, indistinctly adding, "may
you enjoy every possible happiness that can attend
upon virtue — every earthly comfort that can wait
upon life. I thank you, Vernon, a thousand times,
for your kindness to a beggar, your constancy to a
Saying this, he closed his eyes in a state of com-
plete exhaustion, and fell into a doze. I rose from
INTRODUCTORY. 1 3
my seat, and pacing gently across the room, cast
my^eyes upon his guitar :
If my friend had been falsely executed, and I had
chanced to see the axe which had beheaded him, I
could not have been more strongly moved than by
the sight of this guitar ! In the warmth of the mo-
ment, I couldhardly excusemyself for not instinctively
knowing, at the time of my first hearing them, that
the sounds which it produced denoted the misery of
a friend. "Good heavens !" I exclaimed, " while
I was revelling in comfort, in luxury — nay, in
sumptuousness — my poor friend was wandering
about, almost destitute of a home, uncertain of
a meal, joyless, ffriendless, and the slave of mis-
And then I thought upon old Adam's prudent
speech, about having the song first, and tendering
payment afterwards. I cursed prudence as a sin,
and myself as a fool, and Adam as a heartless
fellow ; but here, at least, I was wrong ; for, on
making the circuit of the bed-chamber, I found
my poor old domestic on his knees, by the bed-
side, speechless with grief. He had softly crept
into the room shortly after me, and had heard my
conversation with one, whom, as a boy, he had
loved like myself.
Wilmot just lived through the night, hourly
losing strength, yet retaining his faculties, though
he spoke but little.
Day returned — but not for him : he had barely
time to greet it, when, looking at me for an instant,
he faintly uttered his last blessing, and closed his
eyes. I felt my hand gently squeezed by that of
my expiring friend. It was the last exertion of
which his frame was capable ; and, but a moment
after, the sudden relaxation of its pressure gave
evidence that Wilmot and his miseries were parted
for ever !
My poor friend, it appears, threatened by the
sudden approach of death, was desirous, at least,
of entrusting his packet to the hands of some one
who, in the event of his being able to do so, would
forward it to the rightful owner. His reason for
applying to me (a supposed stranger) may be
partly gathered from the note penned to me on his
Having paid the last sad office, of consigning
his body to the grave, I broke open the packet.
It contained, besides a sketch of his life, numer-
ous tales, essays, and pieces of poetry. The life,
and some of the tales, form the matter of this
Horatio, I am dead ;
Thou liv'st ; report me and my cause aright
To the unsatisfied !
How mistaken were the speculations of an unfor-
tunate wanderer, who, passing over Louthboro'
Down, one fine summer evening, paused at the
entrance of my father's plantation, and exclaimed,
as he gazed upon the rustic portal of our cottage,
u Scene of contentment, sweet abode of peace l n
Now it was, just at that moment, a scene of the
most unqualified uproar — the theatre of domestic
broil: — and, in saying "just at that moment," I
beg leave to preclude the very natural inference,
that such moments were, therefore, of rare occur-
rence — quite the contrary — the traveller's apos-
trophe could have been seldom applicable.
But he was a poor man without a home, and as
XU THE LIFE OF
that alone constituted his misery, he thought natu-
rally, but not philosophically, that all who had a
home could have little else to wish for. Besides,
the house was full a hundred yards from the
place where he was standing ; not, however, that
double the distance would have prevented his hear-
ing the clamours which were sounding within our
abode, had he not been somewhat deaf, with the
wind at his back.
Who this unfortunate traveller was, and how I
became acquainted with the fact of his stopping to
moralize at the gate of my father's shrubbery,
while I was yet an infant, not two years old, will
appear in due time. I am too forward as it is —
this history should have commenced fourteen
months antecedent to the day of my birth, being
the precise time when my mother first caught my
father's eye in an assembly room.
They met by chance — for I would rather deny
the workings of Destiny, than suppose her capable
of such malice prepense, as to have introduced them
to one another, with a view to their misery, and my
existence. Chance, then, having brought them
together, they loved upon mistaken supposition,
and married, because they loved ; nor is there any
plausible reason for wondering that they should be
among the thousands who play the fool before mar-
riage, and gain nothing afterwards, but the oppor-
tunity of exerting their philospphy.
As to my worthy parents, they certainly afforded
a most extraordinary instance of mutual esteem
coming to the aid of dwindling affection, and keep-
ing two people together, who were otherwise unal-
lied by any one single idea, liking, or opinion. Of
course, they could perceive nothing of all this, till
the discovery of it only tended to increase evils,
instead of averting them. Had they but considered
the matter deliberately, taking the various natures
of men and women, and laying them out as a painter
would colours upon a palette, they would then have
convinced themselves that black and yellow, for
instance, however charmingly they may look when
placed side by side, like the squares of a chess-
board, make but a very sorry mixture. I have no
doubt my father and mother looked wondrous well
in the assembly room ; and indeed have been in-
formed that they elicited much admiration by the
manner in which they went coupled " down the
middle and up again :" but, when they became
bone of bone and flesh of flesh — alas ! as the poet
has it, —
" Most comedies are ended with a marriage.*'
But, seriously. It doth behove the sexes to
%% THE LIFE OF
consider this matter, not so much for their own
sakes, as with regard to their offspring, who, ten
chances to one, not only imbibe the natural failings
of their progenitors, but likewise come in for so
many more as may be engendered by the clash of
heterogeneous dispositions — so that if the mother
be given to the stylish vanities of fashionable life,
and the father be an adept in the cunning of the
mercantile world (though neither of them ever com-
mit a palpable dishonesty), it is more than probable
their darling boy may be hanged for swindling.
Yet, what right have / to talk ? — Not even the
reflection which rested on the likelihood of being
instrumental to the birth of some poor wight, luck-
less as myself, and inheriting not only my poverty,
but likewise my incapacity to remedy the evil, could
ever damp the ardour of my desire for marriage. I
have, therefore, no just cause to complain of my
father's union with my mother. It is with Dame
Chance (who brought it about) that I quarrel.
Nor was this the only mischief of which she was
guilty; for about five years after my birth — my
father being then on a shooting excursion in North
Wales — she started a cock pheasant, which, flying
through a hedge, induced him to follow, and was
the primary cause of his becoming enamoured of a
worthless estate, for the means of purchasing which
W1LM0T WARWICK. 23
he sold his patrimony, and ultimately involved his
family in distress.
That I should therefore be a decided enemy to
fowling-pieces, and possess an instinctive abhorrence
to all kinds of game, is not wonderful. Much pow-
der and shot was expended, and many a hare sent
per coach to the lawyer wlw managed my fathers
business, and who took pretty good care that he
who supplied the game should not only pay for
the carriage of it, but for the sweet sauce like-
My father was a man not given to prattle of his
affairs, even to those who merited his most perfect
confidence ; so that ray poor mother never became
acquainted with the full extent of his circumstances
till they were involved past redemption. For mine
own part, while the seeds of all my future misery
were sowing, I was one of the happiest little rogues
in Christendom, much beloved by both parents,
but the constant subject of their altercation. My
mother wished to cultivate my mental parts, which
she, fond soul ! imagined to be of no common
order. My father looked upon physical qualifica-
tions as of more importance, and was as much de-
lighted to see me give a couple of black eyes to a
boy half a head taller than myself as my mother
24 THE LIFE OF
would be to hear me correct the mal-pronunciation
and bad grammar of the parish clerk. She like-
wise much prided herself in dressing me out to
advantage — for I was a pretty-looking child —
though, God knows, I can boast but a very mode-
rate share of beauty at present. As my features
formed, their bloom faded; and my happiness,
alas ! was as transient as my beauty.
As an infant I was certainly interesting, and
attracted much notice from the magistrate of our
village. His beautiful daughters also were wont
to stop me in my little solitary vagabondizings,
and rouse my blushes with a kiss : — blushes — not
exactly of shame — nor of pride — nor of love, pre-
cisely — but of something which partook of all
these — a most pleasurable compound.
Strange it is, that in this world the favours be-
stowed upon us should be so frequently ill-timed.
We are ever sighing for delights we cannot obtain,
or else possessing a treasure which we cannot
enjoy ; at least— which we cannot appreciate. Not,
however, that I was wholly insensible to the sweets
of being caressed by the magistrate's daughters —
indeed, I have already explained that such was
not the case ; for, to say truth, I was in this par-
ticular rather forward of my age, and received
WILM0T W All WICK. §5
such favours perhaps more in the shape of an in-
dulgence than it was intended I should.
I think of these times frequently. To be fondled
in the embrace of loveliness — or pressed to the
bosom of blooming beauty — " Ah, once again,
who would not be a child ?"
My mother, flattered by every little attention
which was bestowed upon her darling, grew more
and more anxious of increasing my fascinations;
while my father, differing from her in this as in all
other matters, strenuously opposed what he termed
" making a monkey of the lad." Thewes and
bulk, with courage to back them, were all in all
with him ; and he cared little about the fashion or
cleanliness of his son's exterior, so he could inure
him to deeds of hardihood and daring. Many a
quarrel between my worthy parents originated in
this question ; and, whether I should grow up a
man of mind or a man of mettle — a gentleman or
a jockey, was the subject of constant rupture.
My mother's desire that I should be sent to
school was therefore urgent, were it only in con-
sideration of separating me from my father ; and
on attaining the proper age I was immediately
packed off to the " seat of learning," in a town
some miles distant from home ; first receiving the
26 THE LIFE OF
several injunctions of my parents, which, as may
be imagined, were no way akin. The one gave
me an Eton grammar, the other a cricket bat.
"Mind your books," said the one; " let no boy
bully you, 1 ' said the other — and so we parted.
I had not been at school many days before I
shewed the independence of my' spirit, in refusing
to undergo the accustomed drudgery of " fag."
My master was, of course, an older boy than
myself; and, being unable to return the cuffs
which he might bestow upon me for disobedience,
the most I could do was to show him that they
would be ineffectual.*
My tormentor would give me frequent oppor-
* The custom in large schools of allowing one boy to command
the services of another, as " fag," is unjust in its principle, and per-
nicious in its effects ; and, though countenanced under the idea
that it instils a manly hardiness into a youth, which may enable him
with fortitude to meet the rubs of after life, it is rather to be looked
upon as an encouragement to the natural tyranny of man, inducing
the exercise of wanton or capricious authority. We are ready
enough to assume power ; equally prone to misuse it ; and the
weakness of a boy's nature should, at least, remain free from tempta-
tion. That he was at one time compelled to be servile, is, with
him, an all sufficient reason for being now tyrannical. The system
is undoubtedly bad. It is the nursery of half the unfeelingness
which marks aristocracy ; it begins with meanness, and ends with
WILMOT WARWICK. 27
tunities of evincing my obstinacy ; and, on one
occasion, being more severe than usual, he was
reproved by a little fellow (about my own age)
for what the latter termed his cowardice, in buf-
feting so tiny a junior.
My young champion was about to suffer for his
temerity, when I rushed to his assistance, and we
soon convinced our foe that he was no match for
both. Just at the moment of his making a terrible
lunge, my companion managed most dexterously
to trip his heels, and he fell forward with con-
siderable force, striking his left eye against the
sharp angle of a bench. Elated by this success,
we exchanged a momentary glance of mutual en-
couragement, and scarcely was our antagonist upon
his legs again ere we resumed the attack like bull-
dogs. My father's injunctions came across my
mind — " Let no boy bully you !" It was no
longer revenge, but glory which fired me ! My
father's spirit was within me ! — " Keep it up,
Vernon !" I exclaimed ; and we went to work
with redoubled ardour, pummelling our almost
breathless adversary right and left, till he fell ex-
hausted, and we toppled over him. An exulting
shout immediately filled the school-room — loud and
general as that elicited from King James's army at
28 THE LIFE OF
Hounslow by the acquittal of the bishops. " Bravo,
bravo! my fine little fellows ! n exclaimed a voice
much deeper and more audible than the rest, and
the next moment I was panting on the knee of my
If the reader is surprised at this circumstance,
so sudden arid unexpected, still more was I. So
it fell out, however, that my worthy parents had
selected that very morning for a visit to their
son, whom they had not seen since his first de-
parture for school. My mother, previous to my
being called into her presence, was anxious to have
a little conversation with the schoolmaster concern-
ing the proper employment of my mind ; but her
husband, not taking much interest in such matters,
had quietly stepped out in search of the school-
room. The cheerings which accompanied the fray
then enacting, fell upon his ear with all the charms
of a "view holla !" and, quickly reaching the
spot whence the noise proceeded, he found — every
thing which his heart could desire ! His boy could
not have been employed more satisfactorily, and he
now entertained brighter hopes of him than ever.
Neither was my heroic little comrade (even in
his partial eye,) less worthy of an ovation than my-
self. He gave us, however, what was at least
WILM0T WARWICK. S9
equally acceptable, viz. half a crown of King
George's money, and bade us, as we valued our
own honour and his estimation, to uphold our
pugilistic prowess, nor suffer the least derogation
from it by any future supineness.
Judge of the amazement of my mother and the
schoolmaster, on seeing my father enter the room
where they were seated " in council most sedate,"
with Vernon and myself on either side of him ;
our frills torn ; our clothes and faces all besmeared
with blood and dust.
" Two young heroes !" exclaimed my father,
pushing us forward.
" Mercy on us !" said my mother, " my poor
" Vernon," said the schoolmaster, " what may
be the meaning of all this?" — -
My father explained. My mother solicited our
pardon. The schoolmaster gravely promised to
overlook the matter for once ; and we were then
dismissed to wash our faces and get our jackets
It was thus I became attached to Henry Vernon,
my first and dearest friend. We remained after
this inseparable allies, and in our joint force main-
tained no small degree of authority. As to the
30 THE UFE OF
^ system which we had opposed, it decayed from
that time, or, at least, existed in so modified a
degree, that no further complaints were afterwards
We remained together at school till I had at-
tained the mellowing age of fourteen; but, I
believe, neither of us made progress in our studies
commensurate with the time employed. Our
instructor w r as a man of great natural ability and
extensive acquirement, but wholly unfitted for the
profession of a schoolmaster, and with no recollec-
tion of those gradual exertions by which he had
obtained his elevation on Parnassus. He had no
idea of " mincing his precepts for children to swal-
low; 1 ' or of " hanging clogs on the nimbleness of
his own soul, that his scholars might go along with
him." The impetuosity of his temper not only
evinced itself in frequent and undeserved sallies on
his boys, but sometimes in his severity to a wife,
amiable and forbearing, as he was morose and pas-
sionate. Taught by individual experience, he was
fully enabled to preach a sermon upon the ill effects
of drunkenness. When out of his school-room, or
free from the surplice, he could be an amusing
companion ; and none could do more justice to a
round of beef or fat capon, than the reverend
WILMOT WARWICK. 31
Mr. . In school, however, he was out of his
element ; and most effectually succeeded, like many
other sapient people of his kind, in making dulness
obstinate, and intimidating talent.
One evening at the Pitt club, of which he was a
staunch and constant member, he mounted a chair
to sing " God save the king. 1 " With two bottles
of old port in his head, it is not surprising that the
security of his heels should be very questionable ;
and in waving his glass, as a signal for full chorus,
he lost his balance — fell from the chair — and
bruised his nose.
The report of this disaster soon reached the
school, and, before the next morning, every boy was
well acquainted with the ludicrous issue of his
master's loyalty and enthusiasm.
At the moment, therefore, of his entering the
school-room, there was a general buzz. — " Look at
his nose,' 1 said Vernon, somewhat louder than he
intended. For my life I could not suppress my
laughter. The enraged Pittite heard me, and fur-
ther exasperated by the universal titter which the
irresistible drollery of his damaged physiognomy
excited, he advanced, without saying a word, to-
wards the person of Vernon, his hand clenched,
and his little ferret eyes flashing with fury*
I stepped between them : —
32 THE LIFE OF
Had the schoolmaster been confronted by the
spear points of fifty Polish lancers, he could not
have exhibited greater amazement !
It was not my courage that touched him ; and,
as to my physical force, with that of Vernon com-
bined, 'twas nothing to his reverence, who had
soundly thrashed a radical waggoner about three
No — it was my fool-hardiness — my rashness — my
" You little — impertinent — insignificant — * (he
would have given the best part of his living for a
word expressive of something an unfathomable
depth beyond contempt — a kind of guttural noise
seemed to announce that he had conceived some
fitting appellation — 'twas the embryo of what he
wished to deliver — but it nearly choked him — so
he finished his invective, by thundering forth the
word) " scoundrel ! — Come here, Sir," added he,
" and receive the punishment due to your conduct !"
The tone in which he uttered this, struck terror
into every one, and I advanced towards him
trembling and agitated. One or two of the bigger
boys ventured to murmur something like disappro-
bation ; and, at this, his fury knew no bounds.
He seized me by the collar, and was about to exe-
cute the sentence of his wrath, when Vernon ran to
WILMOT WARWICK. 33
my assistance. The astounded master, with a look
of direst import, regarded us for a moment ; then,
turning away abruptly, and threatening us with
severe and instant punishment, he hurried out of
the school-room, breathless with passion, and big
with his revengeful purpose, What were his in-
tended measures we knew not, neither did we stop
to inquire ; but, taking up our hats, sallied forth,
and, in a few minutes, cleared the outskirts of the
town. We hurried onward, as may be readily sup-
posed, with unusual rapidity. Every tree seemed
of birch — every bush an officer. We bounded along,
u over brake and briar," nor until we had made
the assurance of our safety " doubly sure," did we
slacken our pace, or give a moment's thought, as to
where we should ultimately direct our steps.
Panting with fear and fatigue, we sat ourselves
down upon a bank, and I began to reason with
Vernon upon the questionable propriety of the step
we were taking; but, like most people who are
ever ready to think that right which is most agree-
able, I soon acceded to the arguments of my friend,
who fully persuaded me that we were doing no-
thing which could subject us to the least degree of
Having settled this — that we had not only acted
34 THE LIFE OF
as most people would have done, but as all people
should do — that the expediency of our measure was
substantiated, both as regarding the world's opinion
and our own conscience — and allow me to say they
frequently differ — we proceeded to determine on
our next step, and were somewhat puzzled as to
whether we should separate for our distinct homes.
Vernon's abode lay within ten miles of us, but over
a cross country, affording no means of conveyance ;
while my mother's residence, though distant half
as far again, was situated on a high road, traversed
by several stage coaches.
While we were deliberating on this point, an
elderly man, in the dress of a poor farmer, came
up, and bidding us " a very good morrow," pro-
ceeded to relate a strange cock and bull story,
about " four schoolboys, who had half murdered
their poor old master with a ruler, and were now
hiding their guilty heads somewhere about the
neighbourhood." He had just heard this sad news
from a butcher's boy, equally noted for riding a
swift horse and drawing a long bow.
At this moment the rumbling of the stage-coach
was heard in the distance. Vernon seemed anxious to
take advantage of the opportunity about to offer ;
and leaving him with the farmer, I ran to the gate,
WILMOT WARWICK. 35
close by, intending to stop the coach. My pur-
pose, however, underwent a speedy change; for, just
as I was on the point of hailing the driver, whom
should I perceive seated inside the vehicle but the
old school-master ! Fortunately I escaped his obser-
vation, but the object of his journey was evident.
He was doubtless on the way to my father's in
pursuit of me !
Dissembling my consternation as well as I could,
I at first merely informed Vernon that the coach
" Which," said the farmer, "is rather unlucky,
as there is no other going to pass to-day.'"
" It is, indeed, unlucky," replied Vernon, much
" But," continued the farmer, " don't make
yourselves uneasy about that. If a night's lodging
at my cottage will be of service to you, you are
heartily welcome, and you can set off again on your
journey early to-morrow morning."
Vernon, after pausing a moment, whispered me,
that it were better the farmer should know how the
affair stood, and he was immediately made ac-
quainted with the whole of our story.
" Egad," said the farmer, "I thought as much;
and what's more, I know something of old — — .
36 THE LIFE OF
You shall both of you remain with me to-night,
(that is, if you'll accept such bed and fare as a
poor labouring man can afford), and my cart,
Master Vernon/' (for, as it appeared, our acquaint-
ance was not in every respect a new one) — "my
cart," said he, " which is going off to your father's
to-morrow, shall serve in lieu of a coach."
Kind soul ! — a word or two concerning him will,
I trust, be welcome.
The name of our humble host was ,
I forget his sirname — but it is whollv immaterial —
he generally answered to the simple appellation of
Although by nature not of the roving kind, the
worthy hero of my episode, till within a few
months previous to this our accidental meeting, had
never known the blessing of a stationary home.
He was an illegitimate child, and had been as
roughly treated by the world, in consequence, as
though he had been himself instrumental to his con-
ception and birth. His mother was a squire's ser-
vant ; and his father the squire's son. The former
died when he was an infant ; and the latter, by pay-
ing down a sum of money, got rid of him at once.
WILMOT WARWICK. 37
After serving under several masters, and work-
ing in as many different capacities, he obtained a
situation as carter in the establishment of a wealthy
farmer, and there fell in love with the dairy-maid,
The circumstances of his birth favoured him little
in the eyes of his master ; but that he could have
borne, had they not likewise argued against him in
the heart of his mistress — this he thought hard.
Nevertheless, he followed up his suit, and well
nigh overcame the scruples of his fair one, by tell-
ing her, that he could no more help being a bastard,
than he could avoid falling in love with her.
('Tis the only way, Sir, you may depend upon
it. If a woman's vanity be not assailable, not all
the fascinations of men will ensnare their virtue, nor
any strength of reasoning overthrow their bigotry.)
The dairy-maid had smiled on Adam: —
Oh! the power of a woman's smile! — (Adam
could no more withstand it, than he could resist
the combined force of his team.) It allays our
pride, hatred, malice, and all uncharitableness.
It is the cure for scorn — the balm for misfortune
— the sunshine of life, bringing forth all the better
parts of our nature.
38 THE LIFE OF
The dairy-maid had sighed to Adam : —
Oh, the heart-stirring language of a woman's
sigh ! It arouses our hopes, and excites our wishes.
It places all our energies in the heart, leaving the
head to do as it may without them. As to poor
Adam, he drove his plough diagonally, making no
two furrows parallel, and suffering his leader to
walk into the ditch.
The dairy-maid had wept at Adam's misfor-
tunes ! —
'Twas enough to overcome the stoutest heart !
Next to the pleasure afforded by relieving the dis-
tresses of loveliness, is that of receiving the pity it
awards to our own sufferings —A woman's tears !
•—The man who obtains them is hardly to be pitied
for his misfortunes. — Adam felt so, at all events.
lie was now fairly in love. He had good reason
for supposing that his love would be returned ; and
thinking it better to have his expectations annulled
by disappointment than fostered by doubt, he de-
termined on making the declaration.
This resolution was formed in the hay-field, and
he went boldly home to fulfil it, when, lo ! he caught
the farmer's son in illegal dalliance with his mistress ;
and, thinking there were bastards enough in the
world already, he knocked his young master down.
WILMOT WARWICK. 39
And thus ended his love affair. Dismissed from
his situation, in consequence, he wandered about
from place to place— doing a little here, and a little
there — and, in this manner, with difficulty contriv-
ing to live, till he met his old flame, by accident,
many years afterwards.
She blushed on seeing him : — his passion was,
for a moment, revived ; but no longer ; for, on
casting his eyes upon her left hand, he saw a
fourth-finger evidence that she was the wife of
The husband, however, received him kindly, and
lent him the money by which he had been enabled
to rent the farm which he now occupied.
I have never been in the way of feasting ^nd
banquets ; but I much question whether venison
pasty or real turtle, served on plate, ever gave more
real satisfaction than the brown bread and rasher of
bacon which our humble benefactor put before us
He had a snug little abode, " and," said he,
" 'tis the first I have ever been master of. 'Tis
now more than twelve years gone, since I crossed
Louthboro 1 Down, unable to obtain a meal, and with
40 THE LIFE OF
nothing I could call my own, except my tatters and
my misery. I looked with wistful eyes upon a
pretty little cottage situated in the valley below ;
nor could I imagine a further stretch of ambition
than to be possessor of such a home ! It seemed to
me the sweet abode of Peace and Contentment." —
Alas! Contentment and Peace had no more to
do with it than he had.
His conception of what was going on within its
walls was just as erroneous as thy memory, dear
reader, is defective, if thou dost not know as well
as I do the then real state of affairs.*
Adam was much amused when I set him right. —
'Tis fit, however, the reader should know that we
managed to fix dates to a nicety, or, at least, chance
managed it for us ; for we were both born on the
same day of the year. 'Twas on the morning of
the twenty-sixth of August, 1804, that Adam
crossed Louthboro' Down ; and on the same morn-
ing — it being his fortieth, and my second birth-day
— I was scalded on the arm by the kitchen wench.
To the noise of my screams was added the vocife-
rous altercation of my father and mother as to the
proper remedy for my sufferings ; while the kitchen
wench was lustily bawling a reply to the cook, who
* Vide the opening passage of this history.
WILMOT WARWICK. 41
threatened to punish her carelessness by breaking
her head with the cullender.
On the following morning our host conducted us
to the mansion of Mr. Vernon. I confess I felt
nervous and agitated on approaching the door, and
knew not exactly w T hat to anticipate as the result of
Mr. Vernon's look, on receiving us, was that of
gladness quelled by suspicion ; and, taking his son's
hand with much apparent coldness, he inquired into
the circumstances of our sudden and unexpected visit.
My companion, like myself, was at first so affected
by his situation that he could not speak ; but Mrs.
Vernon, in the true spirit of a mother's tenderness,
requested her husband's patience for a while, not
doubting but that we should give a true and satis-
factory account of ourselves.
Mr. Vernon heard our tale with attention, and
was evidently in a great measure relieved of his
suspicions by the recital of it. But, after all, the
narrative of two runaway school-boys, in justification
of their truancy, was of too biassed and question-
able a nature to supersede the necessity of further
42 THE LIFE OF
On the morning, therefore, of the following day
Mr. Vernon set off for , to make the necessary
inquiries concerning the truth of our story ; and we
awaited his return with no small degree of impa-
The journey had been made with unusual expe-
dition. We were sitting in the drawing room, when
Mr. Vernon rather unexpectedly made his re-ap-
pearance. His countenance was expressive of sorrow
— not anger. He beckoned me to follow him into
his study, which I did ; and having shut the door,
he addressed me as follows : —
" The subject of your running away from school,
Master Warwick, is, I am sorry to tell you, super-
seded by one of more serious import, and I must
request you to summon up the whole of your for-
titude, — Your poor mother is suffering great mental
affliction.—It will be your duty to support her.
Mr. (the school-master), who had an idea of
anticipating your arrival at home, took his seat in
the coach for that purpose shortly after yourself
and my son Henry had left him. — When I arrived
at his house, I found him occupied in writing a
letter to me, upon the melancholy subject of your
As he said this, he presented to me the letter in
WILM0T WARWICK. 43
question. It was unfinished — but sufficiently ex-
plicit — it informed me of my father's death, which
had been sudden and accidental !
Mr. Vernon and his family did all in their power
to comfort me, and the following morning I set off
in company with the former for my mother's
house. We found her wretched in the extreme.
Had she lost a companion whose disposition had
been in every respect congenial with her own, she
could not have exhibited a greater sense of her
deprivation. Yet so it is with us all — no sooner
are we bereft of a possession than we discover its
defects to have been trivial — its excellencies pa-
ramount ; and the grave, while it buries every
error, teems with favourable recollections and fond
The first paroxysm of grief had scarcely sub-
sided, when discoveries of the most afilicting nature
gave a fresh impetus to our sufferings. The exa-
mination of our circumstances immediately sub-
sequent to my father's funeral, ended in the confir-
mation that we could scarcely call a penny our
own ; and my poor widowed mother was thus left
unsupported in every way ; the victim of a hus-
band's improvidence. Creditors were not inclined
to be lenient ; neighbours expressed their sorrow
44 THK LIFE OF
for our misfortunes, and much regretted their in-
capacity to relieve them. Mr. Vernon proved our
only friend, and the extent of his bounty was sur-
passed by the delicacy with which he bestowed it.
His advice was adopted with success ; his autho-
rity proved influential ; and, at the close of a year
and a half after my father's death, my mother was
humbly but contentedly settled in a small house
which she tenanted of our benefactor.
Neither Vernon nor myself ever saw any thing
more of our old master: so far, however, from
retrograding in our studies, we made a more rapid
advance than we should have done had we remained
at his school. Mr. Vernon was fully capable of
imparting knowledge, and with all due gratitude
let me ever remember his great kindness, in allow-
ing me equally with his son to benefit by his
I must not forget to mention that our friend
Adam, very shortly after our first meeting, found
himself most comfortably established as the chief
of Mr. Vernon's domestics, He might be called,
in his way, a second Corporal Trim ; for, though
he knew nothing about scarps, counter-scarps,
ravelins, or horn work, he was equally capable of
making himself generally useful ; like Trim, he
WILMOT WAEWICK. 45
was faithful and affectionate— receiving his wages
as a matter of course, but never feeling so truly
rewarded as when he obtained the approbation of
his master. Like Trim, too, he had been in love.
I was now spending the happiest portion of my
u But, mortal pleasure, what art thou, in truth ?
The torrent's smoothness ere it dash below !"
My happiness was of short duration. Mr. Ver-
non discovered, as he kindly thought, a situation
in London exactly suited to my wishes and capa-
bility ; nor did I, in the first instance, receive his
intimation w T ith feelings of regret, as I had long
desired to visit the metropolis.
But, as the time fixed for my departure ap-
proached, my ardour for novelty began to dispel
itself; and longings of a different nature, hitherto
unfelt, took possession of my bosom. The idea of
being removed some hundred miles from an affec-
tionate mother — from a guardian of unequalled
kindness — and from a friend— was quite sufficient
to damp my spirits, had there been no other cause.
But I was on the eve, likewise, of being separated
from one, whom I hardly knew till this time to be
an object of more than mere regard.
46 THE LIFE OF
Emma Vernon was inclined to look favourably
upon me, because I was her brother's friend ; and
I was equally prepossessed in her favour because
she was the sister of mine. We were both very
young ; but, if a boy of sixteen is incapable of re-
ceiving tender impressions, it is more than pro-
bable he will ever remain so. I found myself one
night almost unconsciously mentioning the name of
Emma in my prayers.
A young lover is ever ready to put such con-
structions on the looks, words, and actions of his
mistress, as are most flattering to his hopes, other-
wise I might, perhaps, have known that her solici-
tude for my welfare, was the offspring of that
nature which prompted her to desire the good of
every creature breathing.
It was at Mr. Vernon's house, where my mother
and self had been staying for a fortnight, that we
took coach for London. I had been drooping for
the last day or two ; but when, on the morning of
our departure, I descended into the breakfast-
room, and found all eyes upon me as the object of
interest — when I perceived the corded trunks, and
all the insignia of travel — I could no longer re-
strain my feelings, but burst into tears ; nor was
the soft tone of maternal tenderness in which Mrs.
WILMOT WARWICK. 47
Vernon tried to subdue my agitation, productive of
any other effect than that of increasing it. It was
the first time in my life that I had experienced the
sting of kindness. Every fond expression cut me
to the heart — every present I received was a lash.
The chaise at length drew up, and shaking
hands with Mr. and Mrs. Vernon, I next advanced
to Emma: —
My tears ceased to flow — my breathing thickened
— my heart beat ; and for the moment grief was
Twas the period I had reckoned upon for days
past ; " for," said I to myself, " the secret will
then come out — I will squeeze her hand, and be
particular in observing whether it returns the pres-
sure— whether her eye be moist — her voice firm"
— in short, I had determined on the most scruti-
The moment arrived ; fear, hope, love, and
curiosity, were battling within me. Her hand was
in mine !
'Twas like the magic touch of a harlequin's
wand ! — My resolutions vanished in a trice, and my
mind became instantly mystified. How she felt or
seemed, Cupid alone knows. For mine own part, I
could not look in her face ; but remember hearing
48 THE LIFE OF
her wish me a plain " good bye/' in the most good
humoured tone possible.
Henry Vernon could hardly utter a farewell ; but
<c Turning his face, he put his hand behind him,
And with affection wondrous sensible,
He wrung my hand, and so we parted."
Scenic novelty, together with a mother's cheer-
ings, contributed to disperse the gloom which hung
over me. Then came the metropolitan wonders to
engage my attention, so that I managed to keep
up my spirits tolerably well as long as my mother
remained with me.
At the end of three weeks I found myself settled
in the office of an attorney, and my beloved parent,
happy in the assurance of my present comfort, and
the hope of my future prosperity, prepared to return
into the country. But I was no longer the thought-
less school-boy. Love had already, in some degree,
softened the metal of my disposition. The wound
of severed friendship was yet green, and the pangs
of parting with my mother were, in consequence,
the more acute.
I had not been many days in my new situa-
tion before I discovered the total misapplica-
tion of my talents. 'Twas altogether a mistake
— I was no more fitted for an attorney than for
WILMOT WARWICK. 49
a statesman or a stable-boy — my genius was
neither forensic, as Mr. Vernon had supposed —
nor pugilistic, as my father had imagined — nor
philosophical, as my mother fancied ; but essenti-
ally romantic, as I have discovered to my cost.
It was just of that kind, which, while it enables a
man fully to appreciate all the divine pleasures of
life, such as Woman's love and Shakspeare's poetry,
incapacitates him from making such exertions as
can lead to an allowable enjoyment of these bless-
ings. I say " allowable," because he will enjoy
them, if possible, whether allowable or not.
It was that species of genius which will keep a
man out of mischief, if he be rich — and lead him
into misery if he be poor. In the one case, it will
make him agreeable and gentlemanly — in the other,
ridiculous and beggarly. It will keep him out of
the stocks, or the felon's ward ; but, by no means,
secure him from the workhouse or King's Bench.
In short, the disposition of my mind was pre-
cisely such as would have most probably insured
my happiness, had I not been cheated of my patri-
mony by a cock-pheasant. Chance, however,
ordered it otherwise. I took a draught from the
fountain of legal science, and it acted like an ill-
timed emetic, annulling the salutary properties of
50 THE LIFE OF
my early education, and ultimately leaving my mind
in so delicate a state, that it would afterwards
imbibe little else than dainties.
But not only was the drudgery of my professional
studies opposed to my inclination, I also felt
myself much scandalized by the extra occupations
which were occasionally forced upon me. Block-
head that I was ! — yet do not accuse me of in-
gratitude, because I had not sufficient sagacity to
discover the actual kindness of my master's seeming
I was foolish enough to think that I had no busi-
ness to take the footman's place, till the footman,
with commensurate ability, could act in mine.
I was, moreover, so blind to mine own interests
that I could not even see the privilege of receiving
Neither could I duly appreciate the benevolence
of my master, who, having taken me with a very
limited premium, was willing to lighten the weight
of conscientious obligation, by increasing the num-
ber of my duties.
It was my business to open the door to every
costermonger who chose to knock. Gentlemen,
who a few weeks before would have taken me by
the hand, now overlooked me as a sort of shop-boy ;
WILMOT WARWICK. 51
and when I waited on any of my master's friends,
I was told u to wipe my shoes, and walk into the
back parlour.' 5
And yet, methinks, had I been mildly re-
quested, instead of being peremptorily commanded,
I could have gone through double what I did,
without thinking it a degradation. As it was,
nothing but the deep sense I entertained of Mr.
Vernon's kindness, in obtaining for me what he
conceived an eligible situation, enabled me to
withhold from complaint : his motives were all in
all, and I determined to show my gratitude by
I regret exceedingly that for the first twelve-
month of my residence in town, no single incident
occurred which is worthy of particular remark. I
can only assure my readers that not even Don
Quixote could have been more thirsty for adventure
than myself. Emma Vernon had overturned my
philosophy, or rather, she had torn away the veil
which education had thrown upon my nature ;
and when, after long concealment or subjection,
our real disposition is by some chance suddenly
revealed or made free, (love and grief being
equally prone to elicit the truth), there is no know-
52 THE LIFE OF
ing what extravagance it may lead us into. For
my part, I acknowledge myself as among the most
romantic of youths.
(You smile, Sir, superciliously, as though you
would say, " I wonder any man dare make so ab-
surd an acknowledgment."
Now, Sir, it may happen that you have a just
reason for calling me to account in this particular.
You are most likely equally removed from the mire
of common place and the mists of romance ; and you
will perhaps allow, that however ridiculous the ex-
travagant speculations of a fanciful imagination
may appear to the worldly and sordid, the narrow
calculations of a mere money-getter, are, at least, as
absurd, and infinitely more degrading to the prac-
I said I was the most romantic of youths. As
chance or the d— i would have it, the first books
I lighted on were the works of Byron and Moore.
They were precisely of the kind to do my master
an essential service, as neither the bumps of idea-
lity nor amativeness were particularly prominent
on his cranium; but, with regard to myself, it was
like putting fire to a train of gunpowder. Nothing,
in short, was wanting to complete the mischief, but
W1LM0T WARWICK. 53
a perusal of Walter Scotf s " Bride of Lammer-
moor." It roused every particle of romance, and
I omitted no opportunity of traversing the neigh-
bourhood of Smithfield on cattle days, in the hope
of exercising my heroism in the succour of some
fair lady pursued by an enraged ox. If enraged
oxen had been only one-tenth part as numerous
as fair ladies, I should have been, long ere this,
either gored to death, or renowned past hyper-
If there be any poor wretch particularly meriting
the consideration of the charitable, it is he, who,
without the inspiration, is afflicted with the madness
of poetry. Such was my case : it did not lead me
into the neglect of my master's interests, but it
fairly blinded me to mine own ; and though I
managed to get through my stated duties with
tolerable regularity, I knew as little about the
merits of the case as the automaton chess-player.
Every spare moment in the office was devoted to
the muse, and my desk was very shortly filled with
" Odes to Sensibility," and " Acrosticks to my
Mistress." — " Childe Harold, 1 ' and Emma Vernon,
divided my attention ; and I was ever sighing either
with the one, or for the other. Released from the
duties of the day, it was my custom to take a ro-
54 THE LIFE OF
mantic turn in Kensington Gardens ; then, retiring
to my lodgings, I would shut myself up in my bed-
room, to revel in literary luxury, and scramble over
glaciers with Manfred, till the sudden disappearance
of my light, as the last bit of wick was extinguished
in the socket, would put an end to my intellectual
excursions, and leave me to grope my way to bed
in the dark. My employer was one of those men
who boast the virtue of never overlooking their de-
pendents' industry, but make a grand mistake in
confounding zeal with sycophancy, extravagantly
rewarding the truckling servility which merely
attends to the satisfaction of their caprice, and
barely remunerating the plain honesty which exclu-
sively considers their positive interest. My supine-
ness, therefore, in the study of my profession, was
less displeasing to my master, than a stubborn
determination never to flatter his vanity, nor encou-
rage his whimsicalities. He evidently disliked me,
and the more so, perhaps, as he had no legitimate
grounds for complaint, He could not accuse me
of being neglectful. Always strict in the observ-
ance of office hours, and never guilty of truancy,
he could only arraign my marked unwillingness to
act the part of his door-keeper and errand boy.
Despising my master, and meeting with little
WILMOT WARWICK. 55
sympathy among his clerks, it can hardly be ex-
pected that a natural aversion to my profession
should diminish in consequence. In short, I began
to ruminate on the propriety of acquainting my
mother with the state of ray feelings, when suddenly
my attention was drawn another way by the receipt
of a letter from Mr. Vernon, informing me that he
had unexpectedly received an appointment of con-
siderable importance in India, and was on the eve
of taking his departure— that he was anxious to
see me once more before he quitted the kingdom,
perhaps for ever : and that I must request from
my master leave of absence for a fortnight. Of
course, his family were to accompany him ; but I
learned from his letter, that a Mr. , (of whom
the reader is yet ignorant) was to accompany him
u O, true," said I, after pausing a moment to
consider the seeming strangeness of the fact, " his
relations reside there."
This young gentleman was introduced to the
family of the Vernons just before I came to Lon-
don, — a fine, handsome fellow, withal; and, equally
with myself, an admirer of the beauteous Emma.
My reasons for not fearing him as a rival, were
surely all sufficient : let the reader judge : —
56 THE LIFE OF
Harry Vernon once told me in confidence, that
his sister " had as lief look upon a toad — a very
toad, as see him ;" nay, even Emma herself had
declared him to be " an impertinent, disagreeable
What, then, could I possibly have to fear ? —
Nothing to fear ; but, how much to lament ! —
She was going off to India — and her brother too !
— 'twas sad news ; and even the thought of seeing
my mother again, could scarcely yield me comfort.
Having obtained the sanction of my master, I
took a place in the stage coach, and in due time
found myself once more in the company of all I
held dear upon earth. My mother had been in-
vited to meet me, nor did the pleasure she experi-
enced on my arrival, appear to exceed that of
Harry Vernon and his worthy parents. Old
Adam, too, came running forth to greet me, —
" but,'' said he, " London han't made ye much
fatter, Master Warwick !"— He seemed to be as
ignorant of the real fact, as she who had caused
the mischief :— love, as a food, is little better than
" the chameleon's dish.''*
Emma — faithless Emma ! —
I know not how it is, but, with all my miseries
before me, I can never think upon the follies which
WILMOT WARWICK. 57
caused them, without smiling. Folly, alas ! is more
frequently coupled with misery than crime. Had
I been a seducer, I had probably fared better —
certainly, no lover can have possibly fared worse.
Emma's welcome on seeing me again at her
father's, was just as coldly uttered as her farewell
when she parted from me eighteen months before.
<fc 'Twas strange — passing strange !" — I was no less
surprised at the inconsistency of her conduct, than
grieved by its apparent unfeelingness. In sooth,
'twas hard that a year and a half's constancy,
backed by at least a score of sonnets and acros-
ticks, should meet with no reward. As the most
intimate friend of her brother, I had surely some
claims upon her kindness; as the slave of her
charms, I merited her pity ; as a rational being,
I deserved an explanation. Alas, for the man who
seeks reason in woman ! He is unquestionably a
brute who will not acknowledge her fascination ;
her many virtues ; her heavenly influence on our
sex ; the good she ultimately does ; and the happi-
ness she frequently insures : but, as to her rule of
action — if she have any — bless her, it remains a
Emma had certainly much improved in general
manner and appearance during my absence, and
58 THE LIFE OF
was, in truth, a very fine, showy girl. Her deserts,
I am ready to allow, far o'erreached so poor a prize
as my unworthy self; but that (as you well know,
Sir) was no business of mine ; and, as I did not
allow even the very cold reception she had given
me, to damp the ardour of my love, it was not likely
that I should suffer discouragement from any reflec-
tions upon my own demerits.
Nothing daunted, therefore, I commenced an at-
tack, by throwing out a few compliments, and
amorous glances ; but she seemed cautiously to
evade offering any opportunity for secret parley ;
and after various manoeuvres, I began to doubt the
possibility of effecting a breach on the first day.
Just at the moment, however, that my resolutions
were withdrawn, we were, by some sudden chance,
left alone. Emma did not at first seem aware of it.
I paused to gather resolution — rallied my forces —
drew my chair towards the window where she was
sitting— -hemm'd- -sighed — moved my chair a little
closer : —Every thing was ready — my hand upon
my heart — her name upon my tongue — -when, hey!
presto I suddenly springing from her chair, she ex-
claimed, " Bless me ! did I not hear the gate bell?"
and skipped out of the room like a young roe : —
so that I just got far enough to discover, how very
WILMOT WARWICK. 59
difficult it is to make up one's mind upon such
occasions; and what perplexity and agitation he
must necessarily incur, who stands upon the thresh-
old of love when there is a probability of having
the door shut in his face.
I heard no bell ; but thus much was certain :
when she reached the top of the stairs leading down
to the hall, she met her brother, who jokingly ex-
claimed, w A-ha, Miss Emma ! 'tisn't he !"
" And who the deuce is he ¥" said I.
While we were sitting at dinner, Mr. Vernon
casually alluded to the name of the young gentle-
man who was to accompany them to India, and I
(wherefore I know not), in making my inquiry
concerning him, addressed myself to Miss Emma.
A deep blush overspread her cheeks, and she wil-
lingly allowed her mother to answer the question.
" But for the rain," said Mrs. Vernon, u he
would most probably have been here to-day."
The secret was out. — Neither Miss Vernon nor
myself spoke again for some time. Her shame,
however, (yet of what had she to be ashamed ?) —
her confusion, rather, and my disappointment
dwindled together ; so that by the time the cloth
was removed, we had both of us regained our natu-
ral composure. Nevertheless, I could not help
60 THE LIFE OF
thinking, had I been the chosen one, it might have
rained millstones but I would have kept such an
'Twas surprising how cordial we became after
this denouement. — We talked over old matters,
carefully omitting the subject uppermost in our
thoughts, till the happy youth arrived, which he
did about tea-time. On his entering the room she
blushed again. — He blushed himself — and so
did 1 :—
Her's was the blush of love— -his, of pride — mine,
of humiliation. It cost me a pang or two at the
time, but I gradually recovered, and slept soundly
upon my pillow the following night, without a single
particle of envy or jealousy in my mind.
When I descended into the breakfast-room the
next morning, I found the charming Emma sitting
there alone, busily employed in the manufacture of
a silk purse e Immediately on seeing me she rose
from her chair, and advancing with an openness —
a warmth of manner, such as I had not observed
since the time of our earliest acquaintance, she
wished me a " good morrow."—
** I have been more than two hours, " said she,
" at work upon this purse, and have this instant
completed it — how do you like it ?"
WILMOT WARWICK. 61
I could not do less than compliment her taste,
and eulogize her industry : —
" Which," said she, " are entirely thrown away,
unless you will accept the fruits of them."
" Is it for me, Miss Vernon ?" —
" Yes, Wilmot !" she replied, in a tone which
seemed to correct my formal Miss. " 'Tis made
purposely for you, I assure you ; and if you will
keep it for my sake— and think upon me some-
times — "
" I will pray for you for ever !" I exclaimed, fer-
vently, " nor for you alone — but for the joint hap-
piness of yourself and him who has been so fortunate
as to obtain your affections."
As I uttered this, her eye moistened, and she
extended her hand.
Had she spoken volumes, the appeal would have
been less forcible ! Her look and manner seemed to
say, — " You have done me wrong in doubting my
respect — my esteem — nay, even a degree of parti-
ality for you. Though the wife of another, I shall
ever be amongst the warmest of your friends, and
cordially regret any pain you may have suffered on
my account — receive my tears as a tribute to my
sincerity ; and let us shake hands in token of peace
and mutual good will."
62 THE LIFE OF
And so ended my first love affair.
I shall not dwell upon the miseries of parting
with friends so doubly dear to me as were the Ver-
nons. I saw them embark, and, after staying a
few days with my mother in the country, returned
Scarcely had I recovered from the effects of
Cupid's first shot, ere the little mischief-making
god drew another arrow from his quiver; and,
having dipped it in the sweet poison of another
Helen's charms, he pointed it at my heart, and too
successfully drew the bow-string. My new mis-
tress was fond of music, so I bought a guitar;
and having great natural talent for music, I made
rapid progress, was soon enabled to accompany the
voice, and, as I believe, sung myself into favour.
The young lady behaved in such a manner as to
give birth to hopes of the most flattering descrip-
tion. We met frequently, and each meeting afford-
ed additional proof that the affection was mutual.
At length she left London on a visit to a relation
at Norwich. In parting with her every doubt was
removed — she acknowledged her passion ; and I
was the happiest of mortals.
WILMOT WARWICK. 63
Thus far the manuscript is fairly written, and in
a hand which might be said to indicate a mind at
ease. What follows is, at times, scarcely legible, and
bears evident marks of hurry and agitation. Its
frequent inaccuracies and zvant of perspicuity, I
have not scrupled, at least, in some degree, to re-
medy ; otherwise it is precisely as entrusted to me.
" The happiest of mortals !" — Five years have
passed over my head, since, in the unsuspecting
ardour of youthful love, I penned that sentence.
I resume the pen briefly, to complete, in sorrow, a
narrative which I commenced in innocence, and
which I expected would lead to a climax of joy.
Hopes, at least, were mine : they are so still ; but
not, as then, on earthly things. I had my mo-
ments of unalloyed happiness — loved, laughed —
was open to the charge of folly — but could have
repelled with earnest and conscientious truth the
imputation of guilt !
Your favour, my dear Harry — my tale shall be
brief as it is sad. I am as unable to dwell upon
my miseries, as you may be disinclined to peruse a
lengthened relation of them.
64 THE LIFE OF
Helen ! — how I loved her ! On the evening of
our separation, as I have said, she acknowledged
me the master of her heart ; wept, and suffered me
to kiss away her tears !
I was led to understand that she would return
to town in about three months. We corresponded
in secret for some time : at length her letters be-
came less frequent — worse than that, less impas-
sioned. I begged an explanation — she replied
that she w r as averse to any thing clandestine ; she
feared that, by continuing to correspond, we should
necessarily divulge the secret — she suspected that
her friends would be opposed to the connexion —
in short, it was evident she was opposed to it her-
Still, unwilling to believe her capable of such
baseness, I determined on awaiting her return to
JLondon. Six months, however, elapsed, and yet
she came not — I wrote ; but received no answer.
Another twelvemonth passed on, and yet I received
no intelligence concerning her.
Hope deferred maketh the heart sick. I had
fed upon the nothingness of fancy, till reality was
too heavy for my mind. In this degenerated state,
I met unexpectedly in the street the traitorous
author of my sufferings, I passed her unnoticed ;
but so violent was the effect of this rencontre, that
I had much difficulty in supporting myself to my
lodgings. Arrived there, I threw myself upon the
sofa, and having recovered in some degree, began
to ruminate on the proper steps to be taken. At
this juncture a young man, to whom I had been
introduced about three weeks before, called upon
me. I informed him of what had transpired, and
he did the utmost in his power to comfort me.
We had more than once talked over our love
affairs together ; but, till now, the names of our
mistresses had been kept secret — mistresses, did I
say ? — Our mistress should have been the word—
our common mistress !
The reader will immediately perceive how we
stood affected the one towards the other ; but he
cannot fully conceive the violence of my feelings,
when young Barlow declared himself the successful
suitor of Helen ! The intelligence astounded me.
In the impetuosity of the moment I not only exe-
crated her as the very soul of baseness, but threw
out insinuations insulting to the honour of my
rival. He replied in a manner ill calculated to
make me retract the accusation : insult upon insult
followed, and he left the room abruptly.
My feelings, always violent, had never been so
66 THE LIFE OF
worked upon ; neither did Barlow suffer them to
subside, ere his friend waited upon me with the
usual demand and alternative. His challenge was
unhesitatingly received ; I rejoiced in the idea of
writing the name of my false mistress in the blood
of her paramour ; and was only anxious to bring
the affair to a speedy conclusion.
Each succeeding hour, however, cooled my fury.
The creature of impulse, I soon perceived that
passion had goaded me beyond the bounds of
reason and justice, and that I had suffered the dis-
gust, originating in a woman's heartlessness, to
end in a flow of undue invective upon my friend.
Still, I conceived, he must have acted unfairly in
some degree, and that he could not have proceeded
thus far, without becoming acquainted with Helen's
pre-engagement. To suppose that she had all
along kept it an entire secret, was unnecessary to
the completion of her infamy. Some few scruples
she could not surely have withheld. It had been
the part of Barlow to remove them — " and," said I,
" it shall be mine to avenge." But my resolutions
continually wavered. The thought of Helen in-
flamed me — she was the enemy I went forth to
meet. It was not the life of my rival I sought, but
the destruction of her happiness. Then came my
WILMOT WARWICK. 67
mother into my thoughts, and I wept for sorrow.
Sophistry refused to aid me. Every sentiment of
religion and true dignity upbraided me. But I
rejected reason, and evaded all thoughts of heaven !
The die was cast. I had no alternative but to su-
persede my folly by sin.
What a night was that preceding the fatal
" Between the acting of a dreadful thing
And the first motion, all the interim is
Like a phantasma, or a hideous dream !"
Again and again I sprung from my bed, racked
with the thought of my poor mother. Her child —
the only comfort she possessed, the sole object of
her prayers and solicitude — was on the point of
completing his misery, by the forfeiture of his life
or honour — " But," exclaimed I, "my cause is
great. Is there living a man who would be calm
under such wrongs ?"
'Twas in vain. I could not sink other men to
my own level. I felt myself guilty of unwarrant-
able provocation. I had forgotten my respect to
man. Did it mend the matter to challenge the
vengeance of my God ? To say truth, the qualms
of conscience had well nigh got the better of my
68 THE LIFE OF
valour, when day-light broke upon my reveries,
and bid me prepare.
When Barlow and myself met upon the ground,
he looked at me, as I thought, more in sorrow than
in anger. I could have spoken to him in concilia-
tory terms. He could, probably, have done the
same to me; but the eyes of our seconds were upon
us, and we took our places.
The word was given, and we fired ! — I felt my-
self secure : a momentary exultation was the con-
sequence. It was but momentary, however ; for,
on looking round, I perceived that Barlow had
fallen ! He was reclining in the arms of his second,
who beckoned me to advance. I ran to him and
took hold of his hand.
" Wilmot," said he, " why was this ? — Why
did you use such language as no man of honour
could possibly brook ? Think not that Helen has
been the cause of my meeting you thus. You
have endangered your life for one, in every respect,
unworthy of you — she is not honest — I know her
to be frail ; but am not her seducer.''
Judge of my horror and amazement ! It was evi-
dent at first sight the wound was serious. A post-
chaise being immediately procured, poor Barlow, at-
tended by his second, proceeded with all possible
W1LM0T WARWICK. 69
speed to town. He would not permit me to
accompany him — " Fly, fly," said he, " and leave
me to my fate !"
] remained transfixed to the spot, heedless of
my second's persuasions that I should leave the
country, or, at least, secrete myself till the issue of
the melancholy affair was decided. After many
unavailing attempts to convince, he left me to my-
self. Horror and remorse stalked over the wreck
of my happiness, and I threw myself upon the
grass in a fit of utter despondency. — The blood of
my rival was yet moist upon the turf before me !
"Why had I fired ? — Why had I not opened my
breast to the aim of my antagonist ? Heaven
knows that I was not guilty of murderous inten-
tion, for at the moment of my raising the pistol, all
thought was estranged from my mind. — My mother !
— 'twas madness to meditate on her. — A calm of
settled melancholy followed ; then I suddenly arose,
and proceeded hastily to Barlow's lodgings.
Prepared for the worst, the intelligence of his
being yet alive yielded me some comfort ; and I
was further relieved by the intimation that his case
was not entirely hopeless. I could not see him :
his surgeon forbade all interruption to his most
70 THE LIFE OF
perfect quiet, as the only measure which could be
of any possible benefit.
" When sorrows come, they come not single spies,
But in battalions."
On reaching my lodgings, I found a letter await-
ing my perusal. It was from a medical man ?
informing me that my mother was seriously ill, and
that she desired my immediate presence. Such a
clash of unfortunate events bewildered me. —
" Surely," I exclaimed, " my reason cannot hold !"
I believe from that moment it has been impaired.
Writing a short note to my master, I left town by
the earliest conveyance.
In due time my mother's cottage was before me,
— my heart beat high, and my fortitude sank under
a load of evil forebodings. I paused a while to
calm my feelings ; but on raising my eyes, per-
ceived that the window-shutters of my mother's
bed-room were closed. I advanced with quickened
step to the door. It was opened by the village
nurse, who expressed her joy at seeing me, " for,"
said she, " if any thing can do her good, it is the
sight of you."
The old nurse first cautiously announced me,
WILMOT WARWICK. 71
then beckoning me to advance in silence, she left
us to ourselves.
My mother was dying. We neither of us spoke
for some time : at length she proceeded to inform
me concerning the little property she was to leave
me, — how I was to act, and so on. This done,
she became somewhat more composed, — talked of
old times, — of my father, — of the Vernon family ;
and uttered her last benediction upon her miser-
able son on the following morning.
She died ignorant of my guilt, and in that there
was some comfort. I will not — cannot dwell upon
the sufferings I endured in the loss of my parent.
The funeral rites performed, I hastened back to
London, and found Barlow still alive. His disso-
lution, however, was hourly expected, and a second
inquiry found him dead.
My crime of blood was followed by such castiga-
tion as remorse and imprisonment could inflict.
With the lapse of time, however, I became more
composed — more confident in the mercy of Heaven;
but the world held out no further incentives — my
energies were blasted for ever.
Sometimes, as the only means of alienating my
mind from wretchedness, I visited the theatre;
1% THE LIFE OF
and in the sorrows of Virginius have more than
once drowned mine own. I was one evening in
the pit of Drury Lane Theatre, when the atten-
tion of the audience was suddenly divided between
the noble acting of Macready, and the effect it had
produced upon a lady in the dress circle, close to
that part of the house where I was seated. As
she raised her head on recovering, methought I
recognized features once familiar to me ; and when
at length she perfectly regained her wonted com-
posure, and I had an opportunity of observing her
more closely, I became fully assured that the object
of my very earliest attachment— Emma Vernon —
was before me !
An elderly gentleman and lady were with her,
probably the parents of her husband. Yet, where
was he ? and her brother ? I burned with desire
to know their fate ; not that I desired a renewal of
their acquaintance: the consciousness of murder
rendered me averse to it ; and they, whom in the
days of my youth and innocence were most dear
to me, I now most dreaded to meet.
At the conclusion of the play, I hastened to the
box doors in the hope of seeing her go out. She
came; and, in passing, casually threw her eye
upon me, but knew me not. I was completely
WILMOT WARWICK. 73
tongue-tied — choked in my eagerness to make
inquiries touching the fate of Harry Vernon, and
restrained perhaps by the never-failing recollection
of my blood-stained repute. She was handed into
a carriage, and rapidly driven off. I attempted to
follow, but soon lost the object of my pursuit,
owing to the obstruction of the crowd.
Months have passed on, during which time, not-
withstanding the most unremitting exertions, I have
been unable to obtain any intelligence concerning
the beloved companion of my youth. I but wish
him (if he yet live) to come to the possession of
this narrative. Under the idea that he may do so
hereafter, either by chance or management, I have
taken up the pen once more, thus briefly to add a
statement of the melancholy facts which have tran-
spired since we parted.
The various literary trifles which make up the
packet, occupied many a spare hour during the last
two years of my apprenticeship. To Henry Ver-
non I bequeath them.
THE ODD GENTLEMAN.
He had a buoyant chirping disposition, always enjoying the
THE ODD GENTLEMAN.
Old January had just made his appearance,
clad in an unusual load of wintry garb, and fore-
warning all good housewives to lay in an adequate
stock of Newcastle coals and woollen hose.
Business commanding my absence from London,
I presented myself at the office of the far-famed Bull
and Mouth, booked a place in the Birmingham
coach, and on the following morning, at the time ap-
pointed, was in readiness to occupy it. My travelling
companions, however, were before hand with me.
A middle aged, demure looking lady, accompanied
by a pretty girl of about sixteen, occupied one-
half the coach, and opposite the former sat an
elderly gentleman ; while I — nothing loth to con-
78 THE ODD GENTLEMAN.
front the fair visage of the younger female — took
my position in the remaining corner.
Our male companion might be some fifty years
old, with every apparent prospect of living fifty
more. There was a compactness in his form, and an
uprightness in his manner of bearing it, which at
once indicated the full possession of health and
bodily vigour ; and he would every now and then
draw up his chest and throw back his shoulders
with something of a martial air, slapping his
knee occasionally, and with considerable force, as
though to convince all observers that he could both
give a cuff and bear one. He was evidently a
character, and in his dress something peculiar was
observable. He wore a pepper-and-salt coat, cut
in some measure after the fashion of the old school,
and closed up to the neck with steel buttons.
Only a small portion of his cravat was visible, but
this, by the way, was of the most snowy whiteness.
His breeches were light drab, particularly well
made about the knees. A neat ribbed stocking and
low gaiter told well upon his well-formed leg, which
ever and anon he rubbed down and patted, as if he
were coaxing a pet spaniel. A low-crowned hat,
with a broad brim, completed his dress, which bore
throughout the marks of cleanliness and precision.
THE ODD GENTLEMAN. 79
He had only been in the hotel one night, and
nobody knew, exactly, who he was ; though every
one unhesitatingly pronounced him u a very queer
fellow," and I heard the chamber-maid alluding to
him as "the odd gentleman. As we drove out
of the inn-yard, he gave this same chamber-maid a
very odd wink and parting nod, which she returned
with corresponding significance, betokening, as I
fancied, that their intimacy was just as familiar as
their acquaintance had been short.
The expression of his face was one of sly good
humour, gentlemanly and agreeable, with a spice
of mischief in it ; an expression which I imagined
arose from his having been in the constant habit of
winking and leering at the girls from his youth
upwards. One eye was a little less open than the
other, and the wrinkles which surrounded it gave it
a peculiar archness. His mouth was marked by a
subdued smile ; and his face altogether exhibited
such a strange medley of gravity, good nature, and
roguery, that it was almost impossible to look upon
it without an inclination to laugh.
He said nothing at first beyond the ordinary
civilities of the day ; yet the simplest observations,
as he made them, were imbued with a certain por-
tion of drollery ; and you might sometimes imagine,
80 THE ODD GENTLEMAN.
when he briefly addressed you on some common-
place topic, that he was endeavouring to excite
certain notions in your mind — mischievous, perhaps
— but, certainly, foreign to the remarks which
were passing between you. Every now and then,
with his half-cocked eye looking upon vacancy, he
would smile, as if prompted to do so by the recol-
lection of something funny which had passed, for
all I knew, between him and the chambermaid.
At length, putting his hand into his coat pocket,
he suddenly drew forth his handkerchief, and a
piece of misletoe coming out with it, lighted on the
lap of my fair companion opposite. The poor girl
blushed, but did not offer to remove it, while the
elderly lady, not at first observing the accident,
was at a loss to account for my sudden burst of
laughter. It was impossible to subdue my mirth,
having, as I conceived, made the full discovery of
what had been going on between the old gentleman
and the chambermaid.
" God bless my soul!" said he, addressing him-
self in a tone of the most imperturbable sobriety to
the young lady — " are you aware, Miss, of the
peculiar properties of that plant, and of the enviable
freedom which is sanctioned under its pendent
umbrage, that you suffer it to lie so invitingly
THE ODD GENTLEMAN. 81
to the hand of that young gentleman opposite
This put me on my mettle. Feelings of gal-
lantry and respect contested within me ; and I
thought the old gentleman had made tyrannical
use of his privilege : 'twas like tickling a man's
nose. with a feather, while his hands are fettered
behind him. Heaven knows, a rosy cheek was
never among my aversions, and the blushes of my
fair companion opposite were by no means calcu-
lated to diminish the temptation. I felt it my
duty to say something smart and pretty ; but the
elderly lady cut short the rising compliment : —
" What d'ye mean, child," said she, " by keep-
ing that piece of rubbish on your lap ?"
Saying this, she snatched away the misletoe,
and with an air of great indignation presented it to
the odd gentleman. Nothing further occurred at
the moment, except that the poor girl sat blushing
and biting her lip, with her eyes fixed upon the
window, not daring to encounter the sight of our
comical friend, who sat twiddling the plant about
in his hand, and looking alternately at each of us
with an expression of the most inconceivable drol-
lery. The elderly lady alone seemed unmoved by
it. She maintained a countenance of the most
82 THE ODD GENTLEMAN.
inflexible severity, and evidently thought the gen-
tleman an old fool — -if not something worse.
" Do you not think, Madam/' said he, u that
the discontinuance of our good old Christmas gam-
bols, occasions a great gap in the circle of our
harmless pleasures, and that the general decline of
those national customs, which were wont to be so
rigidly observed on fasts and festivals, is an evil
much to be lamented ?" As he put the question
he smiled, and looked at me as though he could
anticipate the answer of a prude.
" O, indeed," she replied, " I think we have
quite enough of them remaining ; and if these
were abolished likewise, 'twould be no great griev-
ance. Our young men are quite free enough, even
now ; and the young women, too, are by no means
behind hand in tendering encouragement."
" What, Madam," added the odd gentleman,
" I presume you found your men and maidens
refractory last Christmas; or, rather, did some old
swain so far forget himself as to be guilty of free-
dom with their mistress ?"
The elderly lady smiled. Nevertheless, she
thought his conduct, considering their very short
and casual acquaintance, rather free and easy ; nor
did she scruple to tell him so : besides, how should
THE ODD GENTLEMAN. 83
he know — as by his conversation he had evinced
that he did — that she was a spinster ? The odd
gentleman, however, was one who generally knew
more of other people's affairs than other people did
of his. Perhaps the chambermaid had been com-
" Aye, aye, " continued he, " old swains are some-
times apt to do such things; and, denied the full
possession of their heart's desire, they are ever ready
to secure the few precious privileges of custom."
The lady smiled again, while my young com-
panion opposite, covering her face with her hand-
kerchief, held down her head, and seemed to have
much difficulty in stifling her laughter. " O, ho V'
exclaimed the odd gentleman, " then it was so ;
was it, Miss ?" The lady smiled a third time.
" No, indeed, Sir," said the girl, as well as her
laughter would permit.
The elderly lady looked as black as night !
" Well," continued the odd gentleman, " for
mine own part, I very much lament the decay of
many practices in vogue when I was a boy ; and
none more than the innocent merry-makings of
Christmas. Geoffrey Crayon, in his charming
* Sketch Book,' has proved himself so worthy a
champion of the good old cause, that he deserves
84 THE ODD GENTLEMAN.
to be presented with a large piece of roasting beef,
a plum-pudding, and a piece of mistletoe, with a
pretty face under it, every year, I much fear,
however, the spirit of Christmas revelry is extinct,
and not to be revived by the exertions of author-
ship. People cannot be merry when told to be so ;
and printed directions will never do where jollity
is wanting. As to the outward forms, we have
still a portion of these, but they sit ill upon us —
Jaques in Falstaff 's doublet, Hamlet with Punch's
belly. We have still the roast beef and plum-
pudding, but without the good humour that
should attend them ; and, instead of making the
best of every thing, we fly into a passion because
the meat is too much done, or the pudding deficient
in brandy. Spirits of another kind are wanting —
they evaporated, as I take it, much about the time
that French quadrilles and steam engines came
into vogue. After dinner the old people go to
cards, and the young ones are told ' not to make
too much noise.' If we enter upon a little jocu-
larity, what a wretched attempt it is. Miss faints
at the sight of mistletoe — and, what is worse,
master believes her fears ! How different were
these matters in the days of my boyhood. The
old people would shut up the whist table, at any
THE ODD GENTLEMAN. 85
rate, on this occasion. Remembering their early
days, they would come among the young ones, and
not only enjoy the mirth as spectators, but some-
times even as participators, My grandfather would
open the ball ; while my grandmother (good old
soul!) would busy herself in the preparation of the
wassail bowl and snap-dragon."
The odd gentleman then went on to relate the
The wond'ring fair one turn'd to chide,
'Twas Edwin's self that press'd !
" I shall never forget/' continued the odd
gentleman, " one Christmas night — it must now
be two or three and thirty years past — I was on a
visit at the house of my uncle, who, being the eldest
of my grandfather's children, with a larger hall and
longer purse than either of his brothers, entertained
the whole of his nephews and nieces, who, together
with his own children, formed a tolerably numerous
assemblage. My cousin Phoebe was, perhaps, the
flower of the flock. — She was just such another
young lady as yourself, Miss, (addressing my oppo-
site companion) — just about your age; and, in
short, just the very lass of all others most pleasing
to my taste." —
90 CHRISTMAS NIGHT.
(The elderly lady began to fidget about in her
seat, while her young protegee blushed an acknow-
ledgment of the compliment.)
" Ah ! Phoebe was my first, if not my only love ;
but as I never evinced any degree of affection ex-
cept what our relationship might seem to warrant,
and, indeed, was not thoroughly assured that I did
love her till she was past my obtaining, she was
never put to the disagreeable task of refusing ray
" Phoebe, in fact, had quietly engaged herself
before I was aware of it, to a young man who went
abroad to study as an architect. He had been for
some time secretly kindling a flame within her
bosom ; and it burst forth on the day of his depar-
ture for the continent.
" He had been gone eighteen months ; and poor
Phoebe impatiently contemplated the lapse of six
months more, ere the object of her affections might
be expected to return. 'Twas, as I have already
stated, one Christmas night. We were assembled
in my uncle's great hall, all of us, with one excep-
tion, as happy as mirth and good cheer could make
us. The one excepted was my cousin Phoebe,
whose apprehensions for her distant lovers safety
would not permit her to join in the revels with her
CHRISTMAS NIGHT. 91
usual gaiety. A whole fortnight had elapsed be-
yond the usual period at which she received letters
from him ; and she began to fear, that in the course
of his professional pursuits, he had either fallen
from the top of the Coliseum or been seized by
banditti. Sometimes, perhaps, thoughts still more
frightful would cross her mind ; and her imagina-
tion would alight on the rival charms of some fair
"Phoebe, however, did all she possibly could to be
merry, and her cousins were not behind hand in at-
tempts to console her. We all made out a story of
probabilities for her comfort ; how letters sometimes
miscarried ; how they were sometimes stopped by
the police, from motives of political suspicion ; with
sundry other little well-meant inventions, which,
however, failed in producing the effect intended ;
for an abstraction of mind, and oft repeated sigh,
told plainly the unhappy state of her feelings.
" A servant entered the hall to say that the vil-
lage musicians were at the door, desiring to know
if their services were required. ' Let them come
in/ said my uncle, and the next minute six fellows
in masquerade dresses, their faces concealed by
visors, presented themselves. In their united force
they formed a very excellent band: two violins, a
92 CHRISTMAS NIGHT.
violoncello, a flute 9 a guitar, and a tabor. They
were immediately ordered to strike up a country
dance ; and poor Phoebe, with a face more in uni-
son with the aspect of a cloister than a ball-room,
went down the middle and up again with me.
" The dance concluded ; my uncle requested a
short silence, as one of the musicians would give us
a song ; and the man with the guitar standing
forward from the rest, accompanied himself in the
u ( Thro' varied scenes I wander on,
Yet no repose can find ;
No change of place can e'er efface
Thy beauties from my mind.
I look on Art's triumphant works,
And Nature's wonders see ;
But, while my eyes are fix'd on them,
My thoughts are bent on thee : —
On thee alone — on thee alone —
For thou art all to me ;
No matter where — my only prayer
Is ever urg'd for thee '
46 Every one seemed delighted with the singing,
except poor Phoebe, who burst into tears at hearing
so unexpectedly, and at such a moment, too, the
CHRISTMAS NIGHT. 93
very air which Frank had learned from her on the
day previous to his departure.
" The words, likewise, bore a singular allusion to
her own case; and she only wished they might
prove the distant echo of Frank's sentiments.
" c Come, come, Phoebe/ said her father, c we
must have none o' this. Now, if you'll immediately
cheer up, and join your cousins in a game of blind-
man's-buff, you shall know something that will
please you concerning Frank. Come, let me hide
those weeping eyes (so little befitting the present
scene) with this handkerchief; and now,' said
he, having tied the bandage, 6 catch who ye
" No sooner was this done, than the masked singer
threw off his disguise, and Frank —for he it was—
stepped forth— not to the surprise of the company
in general, because every body, save the one most
interested in the affair, was pre-informed of what
was to happen.
" Frank put himself in the w r ay of his blind-folded
mistress, so that she could not fail immediately to
catch hold of him. 'Twas as much as he could do
to remain calm and inactive during the examina-
tion he underwent at that moment. Never, surely,
was poor Phoebe so much at a loss as to what she
should make of him. He was taller than anv of
94 CHRISTMAS NIGHT.
the boys there ; but yet not near stout enough for
me ; it was certainly not her father : —
" I do not know who it is/' said she, with a sigh.
Frank had had much difficulty in forbearing thus
far; but 'twas impossible to restrain his feelings any
longer. He clasped her round the waist (though with-
out saying a word), and kissed her again and again ;
while Phoebe, enraged at the supposed liberty, dis-
entangled herself from his hold in an instant, and
tore the bandage from her eyes to look upon him,
whose sole right, as she fancied, had been usurped.
" Lord, Madam," (continued the odd gentleman,
addressing himself to the staid spinster opposite)
" this was a meeting which it would have done
your heart good to have witnessed. Little Phoebe,
whose cheeks, a moment before, were moist with
tears of sorrow, now wept for very joy — * God bless
your sweet little heart,' exclaimed her enraptured
lover, " how could you think for a moment, that
I was indifferent to you ? — Perhaps,' continued
he, 4 you doubted my fidelity ? — my honour?'
" <N — no," said Phoebe, sobbing; ' I — I— o —
only — dou — doubted your sa — a— afety.''
c< I never think of this, Madam, without feeling
young again — without, in short (said he, rubbing his
hands briskly together) — without feeling inclined
CHRISTMAS NIGHT. 95
" To do what ?" exclaimed the spinster, in a
half shriek, as though she feared his inclinations
might have some tendency to her.
" To do nothing, Madam :" said the odd gentle-
man, "but, to assert that, without love, even
heaven itself must fail to gratify. "
The odd gentleman's story was evidently more
to the taste of the younger lady, than to that of
her protectress. The latter ironically pronounced
it all " very fine and romantic ;" but contradicted
the narrator's affirmation, that the witnessing such
a scene would have induced her to countenance the
indecorum of a game at romps : —
" Believe me, 1 ' said he, " it would ; you would
have been as merry as the best of us ; all your pru-
dential notions would have melted into freedom
and good humour ; you would have played at snap-
dragon with the children, and even acknowledged
the dominion of the misletoe."
She denied it : —
" I doubt it,' 1 said he> drawing forth the dreaded
She affirmed it.
96 , CHRISTMAS NIGHT.
" What, Madam J" he replied, shaking the twig,
cc should you really consider it an affront ?"
" Unquestionably, Sir ; and a most unpardon-
able one !"
"I can hardly credit you, Madam/' said he,
" 'Tis as true as "
_#-'•■* * & * * # * *
" As I sit here," she would have said ; but, just
at that moment, the coachman, deceived by the
snow, misguided his horses, and the coach was
If the evil consequences of our overthrow had
been in any degree commensurate with the screams
of the ladies, I should have to tell of broken bones
and limbs disjointed. Nothing serious, however,
occurred ; except, indeed, that the odd gentleman
and his opposite companion were brought into
closer contact than could have been otherwise war-
ranted by propriety — a circumstance which may
probably remain heavy upon the lady's remem-
brance, even to this very day ; though the odd gen-
tleman positively declared that he took no advantage
of the opportunity offered.
The coach was the greatest sufferer, and it
was soon discovered that we should be obliged to
CHRISTMAS NIGHT. 97
defer the completion of our journey till the follow-
ing morning ; so that we had no alternative but to
proceed on foot to a small inn on the road side just
by, and there take up our abode for the night.
Pressed as I was for time, this delay cost me
some anxiety, and the ladies declared it to be " the
most unfortunate thing that had ever happened to
them." The odd gentleman alone bore the mis-
hap with becoming philosophy; and in the cool
carelessness which he evinced upon the occasion,
methought I saw at once the whole art and secret
of securing long life, health, and happiness.
On arriving at the inn, the elderly lady made a
terrible fuss ; bouncing about the place from one
end to the other, in search of what she was pre-
determined not to find — " a decent apartment ;"
and, by her manner of treating with the landlady, I
was induced to suppose that she suspected there
had been a plot privily laid for overturning the
coach. Having selected the best bed-room, she
next desired a separate sitting-room ; but the house
affording no such extra accommodation, the poor
antiquated virgin, malgre her scruples, was necessi-
tated to take tea with her fellow-travellers in the
The odd gentleman was a long time without
98 CHRISTMAS NIGHT.
making his appearance, a circumstance which in-
duced the elderly lady to hope that he had deserted
us altogether — " the loss," said she, " might be
easily borne with." Suddenly a scream was heard
in the kitchen, followed by the loud laughter of our
host and hostess. The elderly lady looked alarmed,
but the younger one conceived the matter dif-
ferently, entertaining, most likely, the same opinion
upon the subject with myself. If it were so, her
surmise was partially confirmed a few minutes after-
wards by the appearance of the little bar-maid, who
came in with the tea-things. Her face was flushed
— her hair loosened — her cap crumpled; and when
I asked after our comical companion, she hastened
out of the room, answering only with a laugh.
" So, so,^ thought I, " this is a spirited old gal-
lant, with a vengeance ! He makes a grand tour,
I presume, every Christmas, with a piece of mistle-
toe in his pocket, flying about from flower to
flower, like a bee, and gathering honey from the
cheek of every pretty chambermaid he chances to
The tea being now made, the elderly lady was
about to proceed in her duty of dispensing that
welcome beverage, when the door quietly opened,
and in walked the odd gentleman — as Heaven shall
CHRISTMAS NIGHT. 99
help me— still with that pernicious plant in his
hand ! — " Good God,!" exclaimed the elderly
lady, half inwardly. The younger hid her face in
her handkerchief. For my own part, I must
acknowledge to the impropriety of having laughed
outright. The odd gentleman alone remained
" You will be pleased to recollect, Madam, that
your vow, half formed in the stage coach, was sud-
denly crushed by the overturning of the said
vehicle — 'twas cut short by Fate, and you are,
therefore, still free to act as you please.""
" Indeed, Sir, I shall," said she.
" Now, Madam," he continued, plucking a
berry from the mistletoe, and holding it up between
his finger and thumb, " touching the peculiar
properties of this transparent globule, I would fain
a I declare, Sir," exclaimed the elderly lady,
starting up from her chair, " you are beyond all
bearing — I consider your conduct to be highly
improper, particularly before this child; and al-
low me to say, Sir, that if you do not immediately
cease to be ridiculous, I must leave the room.''
" La, aunt," said the girl, " I'm sure the gen-
tleman means no harm."
100 CHRISTMAS NIGHT.
" Hey dey ! Miss ! and you must prate, must
you ? I insist upon your following me directly —
I'll have tea brought up into my bed-room — there,
at least, we may remain unmolested."
She seemed determined to go.
" I declare, then, Madam," said the odd gentle-
man, " (although you much mistake me), I will
say no more upon this subject.' ,
The lady was more determined than before.
" To assure you, Madam, that I am earnest in
this resolve, (albeit much against my inclination),
I hereby resign my prerogative, and — behold !
— throw the dreaded plant into the fire."
This was conclusive, and the old spinster left
the room immediately.
Thus abandoned by the ladies, the odd gen-
tleman, after a short pause, exclaimed, —
" Ah, poor woman ! Like myself, I presume,
but unable to bear disappointment so well. How-
ever," continued he, " since we are left alone, we
must amuse ourselves as best we may; and, if you
have no objection, we will order a bowl of punch,
and finish the evening in quiet and comfort."
The punch was ordered accordingly, and on the
landlord bringing it in, he was pressed to accept a
CHRISTMAS NIGHT. 101
glass himself, and to carry a second to his better
** Thank ye, kindly , v said our honest host, " and
right glad I am in being enabled to accommodate
you with sleeping-rooms ; for if this had happened
at another time, I might have been put to the
shifts. It so falls out, however, that a lodger of
mine — a poor artist, staying here for the benefit of
country air — has just departed on a visit of a few
days to a patron in the neighbourhood, and his
room is, in consequence, at your service, Sir (ad-
dressing himself to me). You'll excuse its wearing
something of an untidy look ; but I do not feel
myself justified in altering the position of any of
his painting apparatus, as the gentleman is very
particular, and was never in a greater passion than
with poor Polly one morning, for attempting, as
she supposed, to put his room in order.
We sat for some time discussing various matters,
till, at length, conversation beginning to flag, the
odd gentleman drew from his pocket a small bundle
of manuscripts, saying, as he ran them over, " I
have met with many strange adventures in my
time, and have come to the knowledge of as many
more. My travelling has been extensive ; and,
with a natural alacrity to notice every thing out of
102 CHRISTMAS NIGHT.
the common way, aided by a singular good fortune,
in meeting with so much matter for observation, it
is no wonder that I should now possess a marvel-
lous stock of untold adventures and strange facts.
Here are two narratives, differing widely in tone
and character. If, in the absence of more worthy
entertainment, you have a mind to hear one, choose
I chose :— " In truth," said he, " the fittest for
a winter fire side — a tale of ghosts and goblins."
THE HAUNTED MILL!
To tell how he gradually managed to bring his property into use
without exciting surprise and inquiry — how he satisfied all scruples
with regard to retaining the property, and at the same time gratified
his own feelings by marrying the pretty 3Iarie !
THE HAUNTED MILL!
In one of the most secluded spots of this our sea-
girt land, was to be found, some sixty moons back,
the remains of an old village, comprising about a
dozen cottages, all, save one, untenanted, and falling
to decay. No road, nor path, marked its con-
nection with any other habitable place ; nor can the
imagination conceive a scene more barren and deso-
late than the neighbourhood of Rock Town.
The village itself occupied the centre of a deep
dell, the sides of which formed a striking medley
of rock and precipice, partially clothed with fir
trees, and wild evergreens. Bold and romantic,
the scene would have been prized by Salvator
Rosa, as a subject for the canvass ; requiring no-
106 THE HAUNTED MILL.
thing but the adjuncts of a black sky, and group
of bandits, to render it most effective.
Looking down from the summit of the heights
which formed this extraordinary and crater-like
nestling place, you had a bird's-eye view of an old
water-mill, several tileless roofs, ruined walls, and
enclosures, now filled with nettles, but marking out
the plots, whilom cultivated as cabbage gardens.
The history of Rock Town is singular, com-
mencing with a tale of love and elopement. A cer-
tain scapegrace of a fellow, one Andrew Harbottle,
having conceived a violent passion for a young
maiden, denominated Jenny Dowlas, declared his
passion, and was referred by his mistress to her
father. Andrew was rejected, and retired in
tears. Jenny followed him, and in a tone of the
deepest affection asked him why he wept ?
" Go," said Andrew ; " since you cannot relieve^
do not pity me.
" Thou art a poor spirited fellow," said Jenny.
" Thou art a cruel girl to taunt me thus ;" ex-
claimed the desponding youth ; " for, however I
may be unable to regain my own happiness, I have
at least sufficient spirit to refrain from injuring
yours, by the renewal of a suit, which your parents
have declared shall be ineffectual. "
THE HAUNTED MILL. 107
" Did / ever say it would be ineffectual?" said
" Why, then, refer me to your father?" inquir-
" 'Twas a matter of duty, said Jenny.
" And why do you follow me now ?" asked
""Tis a matter of — of — of — affection," simpered
" Then," exclaimed Andrew, exultingly, and
catching the little panting beauty in his arms,
" His a matter of no further doubt ; I must and
will have thee. Go, gather thy few little valuables
in a bundle — meet me down at the style in the
dusk of the evening, and we'll off to the parson !"
Jenny, acceding to the proposal, decamped with
her lover ; and about three weeks after, their dis-
consolate parents were informed that they had
been married in the border town of the adjoining
county ; but months passed on ere any thing more
transpired concerning the fugitives.
At length, when all hope of discovering them
was abandoned, and the old women of the village
had decided that young Harbottle was gone to the
devil, he suddenly appeared among them in the
dress of a miller, seated on the front of a new cart,
108 THE HAUNTED MILL.
and driving a very noble, and well caparisoned
horse. All parties came flocking forth to meet
him, anxious to know the fate of Jenny.
" And, faith, v said Andrew, " Jenny will be
happy to see just as many of ye as can find a place
in my cart, and are willing to go back with me
over the moor ;"' and then he went on to relate how
chance had conducted him to a most beautiful little
valley ; how he had worked himself into favour
with the neighbouring farmers ; and how he was
now employed as miller to the surrounding com-
munity. He rang forth the praises of Rock Town ;
enlarging upon the blessings of peace and retire-
ment ; and doing all he could to instil into his old
companions the spirit of emigration. Many of the
younger and more enterprising villagers, accom-
panied him back, and established themselves in the
new settlement, which increased in riches and con-
sequence, till the death of Harbottle, who was
shortly followed by poor Jenny, leaving her son
Adam proprietor of the mill.
Among the villagers was an old woman much
given to lying and prophecy. She understood, or,
at least, had the credit of understanding, something
of medicine : a few chance cures established her as
a mistress of the art, and the worthy inhabitants of
THE HAUNTED MILL. 109
Rock Town soon became impressed with a strong
faith in her knowledge and capacity. Having thus
far insinuated herself into the high opinion of her
neighbours, she ventured on a further stretch of
cunning, and at length assumed the wand of necro-
But for this old woman, Adam Harbottle,
like his father Andrew, would, most probably,
have been regarded as " the great one of the
city;" and Dame Ducket, in disputing the pre-
cedency, so far irritated her more legitimate
rival, that, in the heat of his wrath, and in the
hearing of the whole assembled village, he de-
nounced her as a vile impostor. 'Twas a rash step
on the part of Harbottle. The villagers, astonish-
ed at his temerity, all turned their eyes upon Dame
Ducket, who, rising slowly from her seat by the
spinning wheel, thrice waved her distaff, and then
lifting her withered hands above her grey head,
declared him a lost man — a very devil incarnate !
From that time poor Harbottle was looked upon
mistrustfully by the inhabitants. He had drawn
this imprecation upon himself in a moment of
choler ; and his iage having subsided, he now
began to doubt the security of his soul. Supersti-
tion, when once given way to, generally prevails ;
and the worthies of Rock Town were certainly not
110 THE HAUNTED MILL.
proof against the infection. They listened with
dread credulity to their prophetess, who pronoun-
ced it unlucky to have any dealings with the
object of her wrath, and prognosticated that he
would come to some miserable end ; so that Har-
bottle had little else to do than make up his mind
to be damned.
The old woman, flattered by her partial success,
kept up the imposition, and increased her influence
every day. She foretold that Harbottle would be
either drowned in the mill-dam, or crushed between
his mill-stones. She even ventured to pronounce
the evil day, — it came- — Harbottle was missing !
The villagers surrounded the mill, but none
could muster sufficient hardihood to enter. At
length Dame Ducket appeared, and commanding
her disciples to follow her, began to ascend the
step-ladder leading to the mill door. The ladder
was of considerable height, and Dame Ducket's
agility not having increased with her years, she
soon began to tremble with feelings of insecurity.
When about two-thirds up, she turned upon her
followers, exclaiming against their cowardice in not
daring to enter the mill except at the hazard of her
life ; and immediately after, making a false step,
she fell, with a shriek, to the ground. The villagers
having conveyed her home upon a shutter in a
THE HAUNTED MILL. Ill
state of insensibility, returned to prosecute their
search in the mill.
The discovery was soon made. Between the
mill-stones were seen sundry pieces of rag and
broad cloth, doubtless the remnants of Adam's
dress; while the pulverised bones and tufts of
hair which lay scattered about on the boards just
by, were, with an equal certainty, fragments of the
unfortunate man himself!
Dame Ducket, so great an adept in the curing
of other people's maladies, could discover no
remedy for her own, and she died in a few days,
declaring that her ghost, in company with that of
Harbottle, should haunt the mill ever afterwards !
Thus ended the prosperity of Rock Town. Half
the houses became immediately tenantless, and
the mill was regarded as a place set apart for the re-
ception of goblins. In the howling of every blast
was heard the moaning of Adam's spirit ; in the
creaking of every timber, the voice of Dame
Ducket ; and no one ventured to pass the haunted
mill after night-fall, It stood, therefore, for a
length of time without any tenants, except the rats
and mice ; unless, indeed, the ghosts of the miller
and Dame Ducket may be reckoned as such.
Many were the tales told of their having appeared
112 THE HAUNTED MILL,
in various forms and places. Sometimes Adam was
to be seen running round the water-wheel, hard
chased by old Dame Ducket; and then strange
noises would be heard in the mill, as of two spirits
struggling with one another. Every gust of wind
stripped the roof of a tile, which ever and anon
came rattling down into the street — a sure omen of
coming evil to any one near whom it happened to
fall ! and there it would remain ; no one daring
to touch what he conceived influenced by the
charms of magic. The water-wheel was now
choked up with nettles. The wooden bridge which
crossed the mill-stream, fell into the water and was
carried away by the current. Terror reigned within
the building, and Desolation roamed without !
It was in this state, when an old miser, grudg-
ing the expense of a cottage, consented to become its
inhabitant, in consideration of occupying its cham-
bers rent free. The worthy villagers could hardly
credit the reality of his intention to enter the haunted
mill, and did all in their power to dissuade him from
a step, which they conceived must inevitably lead to
destruction. He persisted, however, in his rash
determination, and the whole community assem-
bled to see him take possession. They accom-
panied him to within a few yards of the broken
THE HAUNTED MILL. 118
bridge, and there paused, huddling themselves
together, and trembling, from head to foot, like
the reeds in the mill-stream. The miser, taking
a plank of sufficient length to reach over the
rivulet, placed one end of it close to the water's
edge, and then raising the other, brought it to a
perpendicular. 'Twas a moment of the utmost
terror with the villagers. They could not believe
that he would have the courage to let it fall on the
opposite bank. He looked back at them for a
moment, as if he half feared it himself — Down it
went ! The spectators shrunk back one and all,
in dire expectancy of something terrible, while
Abel the miser — walked quietly over.
Whether he would have the daring to go fur-
ther, was, however, yet a question. A gust of
wind whistled over the building, and a tile leaped
from the roof as the warning of danger. This
was enough to convince the trembling witnesses of
Abel's rashness, that his case was next to hopeless ;
and they began to put up prayers for his safety.
Nothing daunted, however, he moved up the step-
ladder, stood upon the landing, and placed his hand
upon the latch of the door. The villagers only
wondered he had got thus far in safety. The latch
was lifted — they started back. — Will he dare to
•114 THE HAUNTED MILL.
push open the door ? — He did so : a dire yell
accompanied the motion, and away flew the whole
assembly, as if a legion of devils had possessed
them ! — Abel, quietly remarking that the hinges
were rusty and wanted oiling, walked delibe-
The next morning the villagers came in a body
to witness the issue of Abel's temerity. They
found every thing as they left it. All was silent.
Suddenly they heard a groan ! The casement open-
ed, and a head in a white cap popped out ! Sup-
posing it AbeFs ghost, they turned to flee ; when a
low sepulchral voice arrested their steps : —
" Stop P said Abel : " No ghost am I, although
with ghosts I hold communion. — Thus saith the
miller's ghost : Abel, go round each morn from
house to house, and in this wooden bowl collect
from every cot a slice of bread — And thus saith
old Dame Ducket :
u Nor bread alone ; but bacon too ;
And beer a pint, they'll add thereto."
The imposition was readily agreed to by all the in-
habitants save one — old Rugby, who suspected that
the whole was a tricky and refused to pay his con-
tribution on the first day. He slept so miserably,
THE HAUNTED MILL. 115
however, on the following night, and was so haunt-
ed in his dreams by ghosts of millers and misers,
that he never afterwards grudged payment, though
still inclined, occasionally, to he sceptical. He
sometimes smiled, as if in contempt of his folly in
submitting to the roguery of old Abel; but he
could not make up his mind to repeat the experi-
ment of a refusal ; and, therefore, for the mere
sake of his comfort, compounded with his common
One morning, old Abel was missing at the usual
hour of making his rounds. The day passed, but
he came not: the next morning, and yet he did not
appear. — " He's dead V* exclaimed Rugby.
This same Rugby had a son, Dick, whom he
treated more like a slave than a child of his own
begetting. He had, in fact, a most unpaternal dis-
like to the lad ; and was for ever loading him with
false accusations, and inflicting upon him unmerited
castigation. In fact, Dick led so coarse a life on't,
that he more than once bethought himself of
running away ; and doubtless would have done so
long before, had it not been for the attractions of a
rosy cheeked little damsel who scoured his father's
copper kettles. This girl was a descendant of the
Harbottle family ; the only one of the line now re-
116 THE HAUNTED MILL.
maining in the village ; and, if a haunted mill could
be looked upon as a matter of any value, such was
little Kitty's patrimony-
Abel the miser not having made his appearance
for two or three days, it was thought necessary that
a true report of his fate should be obtained ; and
Dick Rugby being the stoutest young fellow in the
village, was deemed the fittest man for a ghostly
embassy, and deputed accordingly. It will-not be
wondered at, that his father should be ready to
sanction the enactment of a part assigned to poor
Dick by the community at large. Like Brutus, he
conceived the public good was all in all ; and he
consigned his son to the risk of perdition with
most Roman-like composure. Be it remembered,
however, he had all along been doubtful of the truth
of old Abel's story ; and this may in some measure
palliate his conduct in regard to his son.
The villagers, being collected together, moved
onward to the mill, Dick Rugby leading the pro-
cession, and his father, with Kitty, following close
at his heels. When they arrived at the mill stream,
there was a dead stand, and old Rugby turned
pale. Dick advanced a few steps, then paused : his
manhood for the moment failed him. To the sur-
prise of every one, Kitty sprung from the crowd
THE HAUNTED MILL. 117
and offered to go herself! This roused every atom
of Dick's waning courage: he bounced over the
bridge without more ado ; and the next minute had
ascended the step-ladder leading to the mill door.
Kitty, bursting with affection, and fearing for her
lover's fate, could no longer resist the desire of
sharing his danger ; and, escaping from her mas-
ter's grasp, she quickly joined Dick Rugby, and
they entered the haunted precincts together.
A full half hour passed on in solemn silence, and
neither of them appearing, old Rugby began to
tremble with apprehension, while the rest of the
witnesses looked at one another most dolefully,
turned up their eyes to heaven, and shook their
sapient heads in mournful concert. At length a
deep groan was heard — a shriek followed — and Dick
Rugby, suddenly springing out of the mill, made
but one step from the top to the bottom of the lad-
der, and in a tone of the greatest terror exclaimed,
" A ghost ! a ghost ! fly ! fly ! — -a ghost ! !"
]So words can describe the consternation which
ensued. The affrighted spectators all scampered to
their respective homes, bolted their doors, and went
to prayers ; nor did they dare to venture again from
their abodes till the following morning, when old
Rugby was to be seen running about from house to
118 THE HAUNTED MILL.
house, in a state of perfect distraction, beating his
breast, and calling upon the names of his little house-
maid and son Dick ; neither of whom was to be
found. His former scepticism now turned upon
him like a fiend ; and his cruelty as a father embit-
tered his memory : he loaded his neighbours with
invective for their dastardly spirit in deputing his
only son as a champion against the devil ; and
soundly upbraided himself for acceding to the ful-
filment of so base a measure.
The villagers, beginning to doubt the safety
of his wits, followed him about the place wher-
ever he went, fearing lest he should commit some
act of desperation. He rambled into a garden
which communicated with the haunted premises of
the mill ; but, as he approached the stile leading
thereto, his trembling companions slackened their
steps, and conjured him not to hazard a nearer ad-
vance. " Silence !" said Rugby ; " some one
speaks !" — They listened; and, after a few mo-
ments'' pause, a hollow, sepulchral voice exclaimed,
u Bury me!''
The sound evidently proceeded from the other
side of the hedge. — They listened again — " Bury
me !" cried the voice a second time, and in a much
louder tone than before : —
THE HAUNTED MILL. 119
" Who are you ?" said Rugby, bold in despair.
No answer was made : so Rugby, after a short
pause, leaped the stile, and nearly tumbled over the
prostrate body of the deceased Abel.
" Let us lift him into the garden," said Rugby,
coolly ; but his companions appeared loth to un-
dertake the task. Some ran off, and the rest seem-
ed half inclined to follow the example, when ano-
ther ghostly voice horribly resembling that of old
Dame Ducket, pronounced the following : —
" Bury him ! bury him ! ere you sleep ;
On the hill, by the mill, six feet deep."
No one dared to disobey the mandate, and old
Abel's body was disposed of accordingly.
After this, Rock Town was gradually deserted.
The worthy inhabitants, alarmed at so rapid an
increase in the family of the ghosts, began to fear
that the mill would shortly be insufficient to accom-
modate them ; and as they were by no means desir-
ous of entertaining such lodgers in their own cot-
tages, they packed up their goods and chattels, and
betook themselves to the surrounding villages-
Old Rugby alone remained, careless as to whether
the spirits of the mill should be inclined to vex his
quiet or not. " If they choose to come," said the
120 THE HAUNTKD MILL.
miserable old sinner, " why let them. If not,
here am I fixed for ever, resolved to do penance in
It will be seen, by referring to the opening pass-
age of the foregoing narrative, that, since the occur-
rence of the very extraordinary events related
therein, several years have elapsed ; and the reader
has now to be informed, that the present appear-
ance of Rock Town is the very reverse of every
thing ghostly or desolate. 'Tis a busy, bustling
little place ; and poor old Rugby, who has been
seen ere now roaming in wretchedness through the
ruins of his depopulated birth-place, is one of the
busiest and happiest among the inhabitants. The
redoubted mill, so fraught with magical association,
is no longer looked upon with horror, nor approach-
ed with dread ; and instead of the ghosts of Dick
Rugby and his darling, we are cheered by the sight
of Dick himself, a jolly, plump miller, while his
wife Kitty, the blooming mother of three chubby
children, holds out liberal promise of a fourth.
Matters shall be explained as briefly as possible.
Dame Duckets fate is known ; and my readers
THE HAUNTED MILL. 121
need scarcely be informed that she was precisely
what Harbottle had pronounced her, u a cunning
old impostor.'" Harbottle, however, could not, at
the time, thoroughly trust to the dictates of his
common sense, and he determined to be on the safe
side at all events. On the morning, therefore, that
had been declared by the dame to be his last, he
secretly escaped from the village, having, during
the preceding night, indulged in the waggery of
dispersing about the mill stones a quantity of pow-
dered pork bones, pieces of rag, &c. Not daring
to return afterwards to see the issue of the trick,
he would have still remained in ignorance, but
for an accidental meeting with Dick Rugby. Har-
bottle, however, had in the mean time obtained a
very eligible situation, in a neighbouring town,
and never made his appearance in the village
How successfully old Abel managed to turn his
cunning to advantage (finding means for house,
bed, and board, in the credulity of the villagers),
I need not say. Dick Rugby's was the voice which
so solemnly ejaculated the command for the miser's
interment ; and his sly little partner contrived to
imitate the tone of Dame Ducket's speech with
equal effect. Abel died suddenly — for aught I
122 THE HAUNTED MILL.
know — in the act of tying up his money-bag; and
it strikes me (though Dick was ever somewhat
silent upon this point of the story) that, when the
young lovers entered the mill, they found things in
that position. The mill was Kitty's by right of
descent ; and Kitty was Dick's by right of affec-
tion. He felt, therefore, no compunction in appro-
priating to himself whatever unclaimed good might
be found in the mill ; and the miser's money added
no small weight to his bargain.
Dick, having suffered his father to wipe away
the stain of undue severity, by a few weeks' peni-
tence, returned to Rock Town — restored the old
man's comfort — rebuilt the mill — reinstated the
village, and has certainly done his full share in
causing it to be re-peopled.
The odd gentleman's story being finished, I
was bound in common courtesy to tender my
thanks and approval ; not, however, that I did so
from mere civility ; on the contrary, the story, as
he read it, was very diverting. Whether it will
prove effective on the silent page, I know not;
however, it can hardly be entirely deficient in
THE HAUNTED MILL. 123
interest ; and, under the assurance that it is not so,
I have submitted it to the reader. It is certainly
a strange composition ; perhaps merely intended as
a simple story — perhaps meaning something more.
The author seemed flattered by my approba-
tion ; and, after some little hesitation and demur,
he presented me with the remaining tale, together
with his reasons for so doing. The tale I shall
hereafter lay before my reader : the reasons I
shall keep to myself. In the first place, however,
let me be favoured by some little attention to the
following brief narrative — being the unexaggerated
account of a most frightful adventure, which hap-
pened during the night of my stay at the Inn.
THE DEAD ARM,
GHOST OF CAESAR.
u There's no such thing/ 1
THE DEAD ARM,
GHOST OF CESAR.
The painters apartment having been allotted to
me as a sleeping-room, I was conducted thereto by
the little chambermaid, who, ignorant perhaps of
her master's previous caution, delicately requested
me not to displace any of the painter's apparatus.
u He is such a particular man," said she, u and
makes such a mighty fuss about his paints, and
rubbish, that we have more than enough to do
with him ; and so, if you please, Sir, excuse the un-
tidiness of the room, and believe 'tis none of my
Truly, on entering the chamber, a man might
with reason exclaim, " chaos is come again!"
128 THE DEAD ARM, AND
Slovenliness and confusion appear to be the usual
characteristics of the abode of genius ; but here the
signs were far more conspicuous than ordinary, and
it was a difficult matter to walk a couple of yards
in any direction without treading in a paint-box,
or stumbling over a plaster cast. Such an hetero-
geneous medley of pictures, prints, books, musical
instruments, and wearing apparel, was surely never
before congregated in so confined a space ; and
certainly, if I had not been cautioned against it, I
should have made free with at least so much room
as might serve for the convenience of dressing and
undressing. Perhaps my landlord carried his
scruples a little too far ; however, it was with a
good feeling, and I obeyed him to the letter ; re-
fraining even from making the circuit of my bed,
though strongly prompted to take a glance at
the specimens of art, which, as I conceived, were
likely to be collected on the opposite side of the
room. — Never, surely, was the very laudable virtue
of repressed curiosity so abominably repaid !
I had still, however, an opportunity of forming
an opinion upon the powers of the absent painter.
Close to the door was a large half-finished picture
upon the subject of Brutus' encounter with the
ghost of Caesar. It struck me as a forcible pro-
GHOST OF C^SAR. 129
duction, exhibiting something of the Fuseli man-
ner; and the apparition in particular bore marks of
that school — so eccentric, but at the same time so
powerful. The spectre was represented as par-
tially enveloped in a blood-stained robe ; one hand
pointing to the wound inflicted by Brutus; and the
other extended with all the decision of a finger-
post towards the plains of Philippi. The drapery
(which is no mean feature in the composition of a
thorough good ghost) was disposed in a manner
highly creditable to the designer's taste and
knowledge of effect ; and the impression made
upon my mind by the first sight of this picture,
might probably have remained in perfect distinct-
ness to this day, supposing even that the adventure
which followed had not contributed to render it
trebly indelible— butlet me not anticipate the sequel.
Shivering with cold, I speedily undressed,
jumped into my close-curtained bed, and, with my
imagination bent on Caesar's ghost, I fell asleep. It
was, however, a very questionable kind of repose.
Not Caesar's ghost alone ; but others in abundance
arose to perplex me, and the reader will perhaps
not be surprised to hear that the spirits of millers,
misers, and old women, were busy in the disturb-
ance of my peace.
130 THE DEAD ARM, AND
After a broken and troubled slumber of^about an
hour, I awoke. The clock strucktwelve; that " witch-
ing time of night/' when sprites and goblins hold
their infernal levies, and discuss the most effectual
mode of stirring up men's souls to unhallowed re-
bellion against their bodies. Entertaining, how-
ever, but very sceptical notions upon this matter,
and having grafted my thoughts upon a more
agreeable subject, I fell asleep for the second
The apparition resumed its influence upon my
mind, engendering fancies grim and horrible ! I
lay upon my back, chained to the bed by some
invisible power — unable to move a limb — incapable
of utterance. This I knew was merely the pro-
logue to some forthcoming deed of darkness, and I
remained panting with fearful apprehension ! On
a sudden the curtains at the foot of my bed were
drawn asunder, and — O, horrible ! — two dire spec-
tres appeared, bearing in their arms the body of
the murdered Caesar ! They were on the point of
hurling the bleeding corse upon the bed, as if un-
conscious that I was lying there. I struggled for
a time ineffectually : but, at length, with a violent
convulsive movement, accompanied by an ejacula-
tion — awoke !
GHOST OF CESAR. 131
'Twas a most beautiful moonlight night, and
through the opening of the curtains on the side of
my bed opposite the chamber door, I could per-
ceive, brightly gleaming in silver radiance, that
part of the terror-fraught picture which was occu-
pied by the ghost of Caesar. — " The devil take that
painter !" I cried ; and, immediately after, the
clock struck one ! So great had been my suffer-
ings within the last hour, that I almost dreaded to
challenge sleep again. Scarcely, however, was it
thoroughly evident that I had only been afflicted
by the unsubstantial workings of a disturbed brain,
when, to my great surprise and subsequent horror,
I felt something like an arm extended under my
back! My fears were not aroused immediately;
but, when I had fully obtained palpable assurance
that there was an arm beneath me — when I felt
the hand of this stray limb with mine own, and
found it cold and inanimate — when I could dis-
cover no body appertaining — and when, in addi-
tion to each of these fearful circumstances, I had
calmly convinced myself that I was wide awake,
by making remarks upon the moonlight, upon the
click-clack of the time-piece on the staircase, and
upon the snoring of the odd gentleman in the room
adjoining — when, in short, I was thoroughly jus-
132 THE DEAD ARM, AND
tified in exclaiming, u this is no dream ! v I then
began to tremble from head to foot. I felt the
hand again. As before, 'twas still and lifeless !
A cold perspiration came over me — my breathing
thickened — my heart beat — and my tongue would
scarcely obey the impulse which led me to exclaim,
" What, ho ! fellow traveller ! v A snore was the
only response. I then cried out for my landlord,
but obtained no answer. Still the hand was there
— I pressed it — " 'Tis evidently lifeless V said I.
The attempt to draw it away was useless : it re-
mained immoveable ! Though I could conceive
no evil consequence from raising my body, I feared
to hazard the experiment : so, remaining still as
possible, I gently drew open the curtains on the
window side of my bed-room— I drew them quietly
apart — but, O ! how quickly let them close again !
— I saw —
But, if you are predetermined not to believe
me, you may as well o'erleap the remainder of
my story. In truth, we are getting more and
more sceptical every day — but not, methinks, the
wiser. The word of an honest man is rejected,
unless he can support his declared fact by certain
reasons current — no matter what — so they be es-
tablished ; while the sophist, substituting logical
GHOST OF CESAR, 133
ingenuity for substantial argument, legitimates the
absurdest fallacies. If a man swear that he has
seen a strange sight, we call him mad. By a
roundabout method of ratiocination, however, he
may account for impossibilities, and have the credit
of possessing his wits, nevertheless : which is cer-
tainly a case of flagrant injustice. And what right
have I to suppose that this narrative will be re-
ceived with belief, when the asseverations of Dr.
Johnson have been treated with contempt ? The
doctor declared that he heard his mother call
6 Sam, Sam,' at a time when they were separated
by a distance of many miles ; but no one believed
"Well, Sir; I saw— '
" And what (in the name of insulted patience)
did you see ?"
" A tall figure by my bed-side ! — the exact sem-
blance of Caesar's ghost as it appeared on the
picture — the precise copy — a substantial counter-
part ! It stood prominently forward, gleaming in
the moonlight, and relieved by the dark back
ground of a deep recess. On venturing to look a
second time, I still perceived it plainly as before !
The sight nearly overcame me ; and, turning sud-
denly upon my side, I endeavoured to smother my
134 THE DEAD ARM, AND
fears (as I nearly did myself) under the bed-
clothes. But, lo ! the stray limb was gone ! what
had become of it? and what was the cause of my
right hand (which had been hitherto strangely
inactive), being benumbed past the sense of feel-
Perhaps I need scarcely be more explicit on this
point. The foregoing questions will most probably
solve themselves, leaving my readers to infer, that
the arm on which I had Jain was no other than my
own. In the restlessness of my troubled sleep it
had accidentally got underneath my body, the
pressure of which completely impeding the circu-
lation of the blood, had rendered it cold, insen-
sible, and as it were, lifeless.
After the removal of the arm, I began to recover
my self-possession, and strengthened my returning
courage by reflecting, that as one great cause of
my terror had rested on so ridiculous a deception,
the other, when calmly investigated, might prove
equally unsubstantial. Having mused for some
minutes upon the subject, I determined, at what-
ever hazard, to fathom the mystery ; and, raising
myself to a sitting posture, I suddenly drew aside
the curtains, giving a loud and valiant " ahem !"
at the same moment.
GHOST OF CESAR. 135
The figure was there still ! and neither altered
in attitude nor position. " Begone V I exclaimed;
but might as well have hallooed to a figure of
wood. " Speak, if thou canst," said I, in the lan-
guage of Macbeth; " what art thou?" No
answer, " Beshrew me, then," said I, IC but this
is neither the conduct of a ghost nor a gentleman:"
— and, truly, nor ghost nor gentleman was there.
" What !— did it then vanish at last ?"
" No — nor will it vanish till the painter takes his
" Was it then his evil spirit ?"
" No, Sir : — 'twas his lay figure !"*
* Editor's Note. — Some of my readers, possibly,
may not be aware that it is the custom among pain-
ters to make use of a large wooden figure, or doll,
the limbs of which being moveable, it may be fixed
in any position. It is chiefly serviceable in the
painting of drapery, as exemplified in the case be-
fore us, where the artist, having placed it in the
proper attitude, had enveloped it in a large white
robe, and copied its bold and natural folds with
great exactitude upon the canvass.
THE ODD GENTLEMAN
" Look upon this picture, and on this."
Our party having re-assenibled in the coach at
an early hour on the following morning, we pro-
ceeded on our journey, and completed the remain-
ing fifty miles in as peaceable a manner as the
elderly lady could have possibly desired. The odd
gentleman, to be sure, occasionally looked as
though he meditated a renewal of his attack upon
the demureness of the inflexible old virgin ; and it
appeared that the young protegee, however pro-
THE ODD GENTLEMAN, &C, 137
found might be her feelings of respect for her staid
companion, and whatever fears she might have of
offending her by laughter, was still anxious for a
little fun. In fact, it struck me more than once,
that the young lady loved a little roguery, as well
as the odd gentleman himself. There was mischief
evidently at work in her brain ; it showed itself
upon her lip ; it twinkled in her eye ; but the odd
gentleman was not to be seduced from his good
behaviour ; and whenever he addressed himself to
his opposite companion, it was upon ordinary mat-
ters, and in a tone of studied propriety. At part-
ing, he tendered her a bow of the profoundest
reverence, repressing even the natural smile, which,
till now, had lighted up his good-natured coun-
tenance : then, turning to the younger female, he
invoked upon her the blessing of heaven, wishing
her all health, happiness, and a good husband.
For mine own part, I bid adieu to him with feel-
ings of unfeigned regret. He shook me heartily
by the hand, informing me that he was now many
miles from his home ; but, that if chance should
ever lead me into the neighbourhood of , he
should feel himself much slighted by my neglecting
to pay him a visit.
138 THE ODD GENTLEMAN
If ever there were a clash of dispositions in every
respect diametrically opposite, it was to be seen in
the case of the odd gentleman, and the ancient
spinster aforesaid. It was evident the early wishes
of both had been opposed ; but those wishes,
though fixed on similar objects, differed widely in
their nature ; and disappointment was the test
which exhibited the true character of each. The de-
sires of the one originated in feelings of warm-
heartedness, and were chiefly directed towards pro-
moting the happiness of their object. The wishes
of the other, prompted by mere vanity, were
rather of a receptive than of a communicative
quality. Careless of man's love, she only wished to
participate his good fortune, and would have united
herself to any monied debauchee, rather than die
an old maid. Disappointment in the one case
occasioned much sorrow ; in the other, discontent.
The gentleman's wounds healed in time ; but the
lady's, chafed by the moroseness of her temper,
will remain open to the last.
The above is not mere surmise. The landlord
of the inn, where the coach put up, gave me some
particulars concerning the characters of my fellow
travellers. The odd gentleman had been his fre-
AND OLD MAID. 139
quent guest, and by liberality and good humour
had so far succeeded in gaining upon the affections
of the entire household — -the old folks and the
young folks, the men and the maidens — that
his appearance was ever hailed as a signal for
all to put on their happiest looks, and summon up
additional zeal in the fulfilment of their vocations.
The little children crowded round him, speculating
upon his never-failing store of gingerbread ; the
dog wagged his tail for pure joy ; the cat purred a
welcome ; and the parrot, sporting all the English
of which he was master (but speaking, as we hope,
either in irony or ignorance), exclaimed, " Sad
The odd gentleman had contentedly jogged
forward in the narrow path of singleness for
near three-score years : but let no lady, there-
fore, accuse him of being deficient in feelings of
gallantry; for, however 'content he may have
been to remain a bachelor, it was, that his philoso-
phy had supported him, where his natural inclina-
tion had been thwarted. Scarcely had his razor
claimed its first harvest, ere he inwardly aspired to
the honour of matrimony : but his wishes, in this
matter, were not to be answered, and he emerged
140 THE ODD GENTLEMAN, &C.
from his teens — a disappointed man. He was once
a lover upon instinct : he is now a bachelor upon
compulsion : but, though he would have been hap.
pier as a husband, he is happy a& it is.
<c And wears upon his baby-brow the round
And top of sovereignty."
Having business to transact with a worthy squire
who resided about a quarter of a mile from the
town where the coach stopped, and being entirely
ignorant of the neighbourhood, the landlord of the
inn (with a kindness of heart which he probably
imbibed from the odd gentleman) insisted upon my
allowing one of his stable-boys to accompany me
as guide. The latter informed me that I could
not have chosen a better time for a visit to the hall,
as Squire Wheatley was famous for his Christmas
cheer, and particularly for the full observance of
all the rites of Twelfth-day. I was the more pleased
to hear this, remembering the odd gentleman's
lamentation the day before upon the decay of those
merrymakings in which our ancestors delighted ;
and hoped for once, at least, to see a realization of
what I had so often heard from the lips of my
In truth, our old-fashioned gambols are not
quite abolished. Wherever there is an oaken-pan-
nelled hall and a capacious fire-place (so strong is
the effect of external objects on the mind), there is
sure to be some remnant of the " good old times ;"
and Squire Wheatley's mansion was of the very
kind to inspire you with antiquated notions the
moment you beheld it. It was erected in the time
of Elizabeth by some one, who, in honour of his
queen, so designed it that the plan should represent
the letter E ; there being in its front three gable
ends, the two extreme ones projecting beyond that
in the centre. Believe me, there is nothing like a
high pointed gable end to bring before our " mind's
eye" the manners of our forefathers. Then there
is the clustered chimney — and the stone mullion to
the windows — and the porch with seats on each side
— and the stone in front bearing some traces of the
family arms and the date of erection; — all these
outward signs have their due effect in abolishing the
fripperies of the present, and restoring the more
substantial notions of times gone by.
Squire Wheatley received me in the most friend-
ly manner, and forbidding all mention of business
till the following dav, ordered his servant to con-
duct me to the bed-chamber designed for my occu-
pation. On ascending the staircase I encountered
a host of happy little urchins on the midway land-
ing, assembled before the door of the store-room ;
each in turn taking a peep through the keyhole at
the grand object of their meeting — a ponderous
twelfth cake. But it was not the cake alone which
excited pleasureable anticipations : the spirit of am-
bition was amongst them, and each one speculated
upon the honours of royalty, " running before his
horse to market," and forming determinations as to
what rule of government he should adopt in the
event of drawing the character which brought with
it the regal title and prerogatives.
In the drawing-room I found a party, equally
numerous, but of maturer years ; the several pa-
rents of the little people I had left above, together
with their elder sons and daughters ; nor has the
rough beard of Winter often brushed a fairer cheek
than that of Emily Wheatley, the squire's eldest
daughter. Scarcely, however, had I time to make
due obeisance to the assembled company, ere dinner
was announced, and the village rector, offering
his arm to the squire's wife, led the way to the
I forbear entering into any detail upon the sub-
ject of the dinner table, else I should be unpardon-
ably remiss in neglecting to comment upon the good
things which came out of the rectors mouth, as well
as the many which went into it. He passed un-
qualified encomium upon every dish, and cer-
tainly did his utmost to prove that nothing was
superfluous; while the squire's youngest son, un-
able to suppress his facetiousness upon the occasion,
remarked that his reverence, both in doctrine and
example, was unequalled, particularly when the
former was delivered from the pulpit, and the latter
exhibited at the dinner-table.
The hour for drawing the Twelfth Night charac-
ters, which had been most impatiently awaited by
the younger portion of the company, at length ar-
rived ; and it was truly amusing to see the anxiety
and earnestness which were displayed in the coun-
tenance of each little candidate for the regal honours
of the evening. On each side of the cake was placed
a gilt paper crown, surmounted with a peacock's
feather, and destined for the heads of their infantine
majesties. A couple of thrones were likewise pre-
pared, with all necessary accommodations for the
prime minister and minions of the court ; and every
thing being now in readiness, the drawing of the
Provoking was the issue of the trial — at least, to
a certain little lady whose ambition was great, and
whose brow had been already encircled by Fancy
in a " golden diadem." — Alas ! the title of Queen
fell upon a funny little round-about girl, the least
in company ; sadly deficient in such ideas as might
correspond with the peacock's feather; and too
young, in short, to appreciate the high honour
which it had been the pleasure of Fate to confer
upon her. No sooner was her majesty lifted upon
the throne than she became furiously obstreperous,
and the prime minister, loyally anxious to main-
tain her in her lofty state, only got a scratch in the
face for his exertions. It was in vain her royal con-
sort endeavoured to make her behave herself as be-
came the partner of his throne. She still persisted
in a line of conduct terribly at variance with every
rule of courtly propriety, and proved herself, in
fact, a most ungovernable governess. The king be-
came indignant ; her majesty was impeached ; found
guilty of abusing the dignity of her station, and
banished to the nursery ; while the peacock's feather,
with all honours and privileges appertaining thereto,
was transferred to the little lady I have before
mentioned. After this, things went on with all pro-
per observance for at least ten minutes, though the
king, perhaps, was less peremptory than a king
should be, and, in fact, permitted the petticoat to
manage matters too much after her own fashion.
It must be confessed their majesties had a most
harassing time of it. They fully proved, during
their short reign, the heavy cares of royalty. The
presumption and disrespect shown to them by their
subjects, were beyond all bearing ; and the queen
—though a most dignified queen, who required no-
thing more from her inferiors than courteous beha-
viour in payment— found her favours a very unsale-
able commodity. 'Twas to no purpose she exclaim-
ed, " I am the queen ! — Thus should ye do — and
thus :•- — They only did as it pleased them ; and the
king, despairing of culling any profits from his dig-
nity, resigned his seat, content to be less illustrious
and more happy. Her majesty, however, still en-
deavoured to support her falling state; but it was
in vain. The king's abdication was the signal for
general revolt ; the queen's appeal was unnoticed ;
and the poor little lady, losing all value for the
power which no one feared, and for the glory which
no one seemed to envy, quitted her state in high
dudgeon. Half crying at the unruliness of her sub-
jects, she declared herself a most ill-used queen,
and suffered [Monarchy to fall before the spirit of
Among the " children of larger growth" who
were collected near the fire-place to witness in
silent pleasure the frolics of the little ones, I could
not but observe one group with peculiar interest.
It was a party of two; male and female — both
young — one beautiful, and the other nothing amiss.
The youth, evidently a warm-hearted fellow, was
standing in a careless attitude on one side of the
fire-place, with his elbow on the mantleshelf, and
leaning his head somewhat forward over the
shoulder of the squire's fair daughter, who stood
with her back towards him the whole time. His
parted lip and sleepy eye told plainly the state of
his feelings ; but Miss Emily, to all appearance,
was totally heedless (if not ignorant) of the emo-
tions which influenced him ; and seemed impene-
trably deaf to the sugared accents which he poured
half whispering into her ear. She never replied to
him once ; and, in truth, considering the extreme
fervour of his manner, I almost deemed it strange
she could maintain her composure so firmly. Yet,
so it was. Her attention seemed fixed upon the
children at play, and her whole anxiety appeared
to rest upon the preservation of decorum and good
temper amongst them. I observed, three or four
times, that just as the youth had worded what
appeared to be an idea of the most soul-stirring
warmth, she would dart off to rectify some little
misunderstanding among her young flock, and then
carelessly resume her station, turning her back
upon her admirer as before ; her face being slightly
flushed — no doubt by the exertions she had just
made in restoring order. By the way, the tint
upon her cheeks varied considerably even when
she remained stationary ; and her bosom's rise and
fall would vary too. Sometimes she bit her lip ;
but not in anger — else never anger looked so sweet ;
nor was it done to suppress a laugh, for she
scarcely seemed inclined to smile. In short, I shall
not presume to dive into her mystery, nor to
divine the meaning of an oft-repeated sigh ; but,
with respect to the gentleman — O, it was amusing
to see him, — his breast swelling with its fraught of
tenderness, while high respect and reverential de-
licacy vanquished the desire he felt to clasp her in
his arms, and let loose the full tide of his soul.
Rarely have I seen a more genuine flow of hap-
piness than the young folks exhibited. The royal
pair seemed to have forgotten their former great-
ness, and very shortly became downright boisterous
and plebeian. The thrones were demolished, and
the quondam monarch was to be seen scrambling
blindfold among his subjects ; while the little lady
(their sometime queen) had descended to the im-
propriety of tickling her consort's nose with the
peacock's feather ! At length the clock struck
nine — the revelries were concluded — and the
younger part of the community took their depar-
ture for the night.
" Ah ! bless their little hearts !" exclaimed the
worthy squire, with all the warmth of a father's
feeling ; " I love to see them happy ; and, withal,
I can enjoy peace and quietness in their turn ; so
now, if it please you, my friends, we will adjourn
to the supper room, and finish the evening in a
sober manner." Saying this, he led the way into
an adjoining apartment, bidding us, as we valued
his friendship, to do justice to his cousin of Can-
terbury's brawn and the round of hung beef, espe-
cially prepared for the present occasion.
After supper, the punch bowl made its appear-
ance ; and our host having given a bumper to the
king, the worthy vicar filled another to the agri-
cultural interest. Songs, jests, puns, and riddles,
followed in quick succession, till, at length, some
remarks made by his reverence upon the excellent
quality of the squire's rum, led to the mention of
smuggling, and further suggested the following
brief tale, which, to the best of my recollection, I
give in the words of the narrator.
" So shall you hear of bloody and unnatural acts ;
Of accidental judgments, casual slaughter."
It is now some three or four years back, since I
took up my temporary abode at Elmouth, a small
sea-bathing place on the Welsh coast, little known
to the general traveller, but much admired by all
who are acquainted with it, on account of the
beauty of its adjacent scenery. Like Dr. Syntax,
(of home-tourists the most redoubted,) I have ever
been indefatigable in pursuit of " the picturesque ;"
and it was in one of my rambles along the coast of
Elmouth, that I became accidentally acquainted
with the melancholy facts which I am now about
Induced by the grandeur of the scenery, and the
extreme beauty of the weather, I had one evening
156 THE SMUGGLER.
strolled much further than usual ; and the sun was
just sinking below the horizon, when I unex-
pectedly entered a small fishing town, the existence
of which had been till now a secret to me.
It was, in truth, a miserable place ; rarely visited
but by such as were compelled to do so from neces-
sity. A collection of fishermen's huts, scarcely
serving to exclude the pelting of the storms — in
that quarter both frequent and furious — formed
the principal street ; and the remainder of the
village was composed of a private madhouse ; a
church, where duty was only occasional ; and an
old inn, once blessed with patronage, but now ex-
hibiting no sign of its former use and importance,
save that which swung on rusty hinges before the
door. There was likewise a building called the
prison, whilom gladdened with the merry-makings
of confined debtors, but now only echoing the
complaints of three or four wretched, but honest
inmates, free as the air on which they fed, and
having too much reason to envy the state of their
The madhouse being in tolerable repair, was
decidedly the most cheerful looking edifice in the
village, and I was only at a loss to conceive why so
melancholy a situation should have been chosen as
THE SMUGGLER. 157
suitable to the purposes of the asylum. At the
back of the building was a high wall which ap-
peared to encircle a garden or pleasure-ground for
the benefit of the patients, and I walked round it,
in the hope of finding some aperture or grating,
whence I might obtain a view of the interior.
Unsuccessful, however, in this attempt, I turned
to leave the spot, w T hen my steps were suddenly
arrested by the sound of voices within the enclo-
sure, and as the speakers drew nearer to the place
which I occupied, I could clearly distinguish their
words. One voice was too truly that of some
poor female maniac, — the other, that of her
keeper : —
u Rest assured," said the latter, " all will be
well. Your husband loves your brother both for
your sake and his own ; and in due time (though
you must summon up all your patience) he will
discover him, wherever he may be hidden/'
" Hidden !" exclaimed the female, " why
should my brother hide himself ?"
" Doubtless," answered her keeper, " to escape
the cruelty of the pirates.'"
" And if the pirates have him ?"
" Your husband still shall effect his rescue."
158 THE SMUGGLER.
" If he do not," said the female, with that
mirthless laugh peculiar to insanity, "if he do not
--his blood— "
The keeper emphatically interrupted her threat.
" Nay," she cried, in a tone almost amounting
to a shriek, " your blood, too — yours — " ■
" Silence, Madam !" exclaimed the former
sternly ; " treat your regent with more respect,
else, , ' ) said he, stamping his foot violently upon the
ground, " in the king's name I shall arraign you
on a charge of treason !"
Suddenly she became quiet, speaking in a
sweetly subdued tone, but in a manner so irrelative,
that for some minutes I could scarcely divine any
meaning. At length she desired her companion to
play upon his flute. He did so. The air was
cheerful and plaintive by turns.
" O !" said she, " that it could speak — speak
Saying this, she bade her keeper's attention, and
sung as follows : —
6C Poor, hapless maiden, desolate and lone,-—
Come hither — hither — sleep upon a breast
Which never yet felt sorrow of its own,
But which can still feel thine y and give thee rest.
THE SMUGGLER. 15#
" Come ! at my smile thy many griefs shall fly ;
I'll yield thee joy, or share in thy distress ;
I'll lull thee with the sighs of sympathy,
And thou shalt wake again to happiness :
" For, I'm so rich in comfort, nothing more
Can soften waking thoughts or sweeten sleep ;
This only now remains t'increase my store —
The bliss of weeping oft with those who weep."
I need scarcely comment on the peculiar quali-
ties of insanity, which frequently endows its victims
with a store of fancy, whence they derive a much
greater consciousness of wealth, power, or happi-
ness, than the mines of reality ever yield even to
the most fortunate among the children of reason.
But, alas, in the joys of a maniac we experience
nothing reciprocal ; and look upon her imaginary
happiness as upon the phosphorescent gleam of
decay, visible only when all around is gloom —
shining, perhaps, brilliantly, but dispensing no
light. The reason of this poor girl had evidently
been crushed beneath the ruin which involved
either a husband's or a brother's fate; and the
words of her song — so expressive of entire and
perfect happiness — were, most probably, an ex-
treme contradiction of all that would have been
elicited by sanity and truth.
160 THE SMUGGLER,
The last words of her song fell indistinctly upon
my ear as she retired towards the house. I waited
a few moments to discover whether she would
again pass by ; but all was silence, save the turret
clock, which, sounding the hour of nine, reminded
me that the distance of a league and a half sepa-
rated me from my bed-chamber. Determining to
revisit this place at another and more seasonable
time, for the purpose of making some inquiry into
the history of one who had so deeply interested me,
I directed my steps homeward. It was a lovely
night; and the moon, nearly in the full, shone
with more than usual splendour. Every now and
then a light cloud passed like a thin veil over her
disk, borne rapidly on by the rising breeze, which
had already curled the wave, and set the breakers
in commotion. I walked forward with divided
attention ; now gazing with admiration upon the
noble cliffs which reared their darkened profiles
against the deep blue sky ; and then, recurring
with melancholy reflection to the subject of the
I had proceeded a considerable distance, when
I suddenly espied a man in the dress of an officer
of the Preventive Service, who, at a more moderate
pace than mine, was walking the same way ; and
THE SMUGGLER. 161
being of a somewhat sociable turn (particularly
when I take late walks in lonely situations), I
quickened my steps, and soon came up with him.
w Hallo !" said he, turning short round as he
heard my steps, u friend or foe?"
" Certainly wo foe" I replied ; " but willing to
be your companion to El mouth, if you be going
that way : — "
" Which I am," said he, " and shall be happy
in your society."
" Pray, how far may we be," I inquired, " from
the place of our destination ?"
" Why," said he, pointing towards the summit
of the cliff, " that gibbet is the half-way mark
betwixt Elmouth and ■ :" (the extremes
of my ramble.)
I looked up, and perceived the gibbet to which
my companion had pointed. It bore the skeleton of
a man, which swung to and fro in the wind, and
creaked loudly with every motion. On passing
the spot previously, this frightful warning of jus-
tice had escaped my observation ; but it now
appeared doubly conspicuous, suspended as it was
in dark relief against the light of the moon.
" Ah," said my companion, " that's been the
way with Dick Darwell for many a year, during a
16£ THE SMUGGLER.
seafaring life of daring and danger. For fifteen
years he acknowledged no ruler but the winds, and
since his death (now nearly half that time) he has
been keeping up the game upon the gibbet."
" And what is his history ?"
" I will inform you briefly," replied the nar-
rator, who thus proceeded : — " It is pretty gene-
rally known, I believe, that old Darwell — the
father of yon hanging carcase — was an old brute,
whose temper was such as to render home the least
desirable place in the world to his children, con-
sisting of a boy and girl. The latter was fortu-
nate enough to escape his tyranny in some measure,
by an early marriage with a Captain Hardy — one
of my craft — an officer in the preventive service,
commanding the Dragon cutter : but poor Dick
remained to suffer under a double share of wanton
austerity, while his sister, who loved him dearly,
feared even to commiserate, much more to defend
him. Dick, however, was not unable to fight his
own battles ; on the contrary, he partook of his
father's violence, though he never evinced it except
in retaliation. He saw people on all sides ready to
defend him ; but was loth to embroil any one in
his disputes, and, perhaps, knew too well the im-
pregnability of his father's heart, which would
THE SMUGGLER. 163
rather acquire rancour from being opposed, than
permit the intrusions of humanity. Many and
violent had been their quarrels : at length the son,
unable any longer either to bear his father's impe-
tuosity or to curb his own, ran away ; and old
Darwell, when it was too late, became more inclined
to think and feel as a parent should have done.
" The loss and uncertain fate of her brother,
greatly embittered the days of Mrs. Hardy, who
had otherwise lived happily in the society of her
husband. Yet, even here, she had much to agitate
her. The occasional dangers to which Captain
Hardy was subject in the fulfilment of his duties,
excited her constant apprehension ; while his fre-
quent absence from home contributed to her un-
easiness. Many were the sighs which followed
her brother's self-banishment, and neither the sight
nor mention of her father was calculated to enliven
her reflections. Had death been the separator,
time might have restored to the affectionate sister
her comfort and peace of mind ; but it was doubt
which worried her: and the melancholy probability
of her brother having committed suicide would
occasionally force itself upon her thoughts, and
make her doubly miserable.
" Captain Hardy had only just recovered from a
164 THE SMUGGLER.
severe wound received in the chase of a smuggler,
when secret information was given him concerning
the re-appearance of the same vessel within two
leagues of his station. Foiled in his previous
attempt, though with no loss of honour, he deter-
mined this time on more efficacious exertion ; and,
tearing himself away from the arms of his discon-
solate wife (who now, more than ever, despaired of
seeing him return in safety), he once again took the
command of his service-tried cutter.
" It was night when they put off, and blowing
stiffly from the shore, so that they had much ado
to keep within the bearing of a headland, which, as
they were led to understand, covered the position
of the smuggler. They were not mistaken in their
course; but, on doubling the promontory, the
object of their search was no where visible. Ap-
prised of their situation, the smugglers had taken
advantage of the wind and put out to sea.
" Disappointed, but yet not hopeless of success,
Hardy, striking a random course, continued the
pursuit; and at break of day, to his great joy,
came in sight of the enemy. At noon he arrived
within shot, and received immediate proof of the
smuggler's intention to risk an engagement. Every
thing, indeed^ had been favourable for necessary
THE SMUGGLER. 165
preparation on the part of the latter, and a well-
directed ball from her stern chaser brought down a
sailor from the rigging of the Dragon. Hardy-
had the courage of a lion, but not, perhaps, the
coolness fitting a commander ; and, bearing onward
beneath a heavy fire, he soon came alongside the
smuggler — fixed the grappling iron with his own
hand — and was the first to board her. The cap-
tains met hand to hand ; but, after a short conflict,
were separated in the confusion of the fray.
Hardy's sword, however, fell with mortal force
upon two of his antagonists, and in the course of
ten minutes the smuggler's deck was in the pos-
session of our officers ! Among the vanquished dead
which lay around, the chief smuggler and several of
his crew were not to be discovered ; and the conquerors
had scarcely time to range the deck, when a shot
from the Dragon struck Hardy, and the fight was
renewed on board his own vessel. The contest,
however, was too unequal to be of long duration,
and the lawless captain, after a furious resistance,
was secured a prisoner. Seeing the impossibility
of making any stand on board his own ship, he
had taken advantage of the smoke and confusion,
leaped into a boat at her unengaged side, and,
together with three of his desperate comrades, had
166 THE SMUGGLER.
moved round to the stern of the Dragon, and
ascended her deck unobserved.
"Hardy fell to rise no more ; but, ere he breathed
his last, the exulting shout of victory blessed his
ears, and he now only desired to part from life
upon the deck of the Dragon. Having invoked
the aid of Heaven in behalf of his beloved wife, he
would have gazed upon the captive author of her
widowhood, but death prevented it ; and he closed
his eyes for ever, unknowing that he had been
instrumental to the seizure of one, whom, only a
few years back, he had deeply loved, and whose
memory he had ever fondly cherished. I need
scarcely add that he had fallen by the hand of his
brother-in-law — the self-abandoned Darwell !
"Mrs. Hardy was among the first who saw the
victorious Dragon towing its prize into port. But
what, alas ! was victory to her ? and where was she
to find consolation for the loss with which it had
been purchased ? Death would most likely have
relieved her from a prolongation of her misery, if
the last sad horror which awaited her had not been
sufficient to deprive her of reason. — The sight of
her husband's murderer effected this: but she is
now ignorant that the gibbetted bones of a British
smuggler are those of her once loved brother ! You
THE SMUGGLER. 167
have seen the one sad object : — if you enter the
private madhouse at , you may behold the
Thus ended my companion's melancholy narra-
tive. I revisited the village of , a few weeks
afterwards ; but the unfortunate maniac had died
during the interim.
" The only cheerful part of the story/' said the
" Well," said one of the company (an old gentle-
man with a somewhat waggish expression of counten-
ance, and who, by the way, seemed scarcely suscept-
ible of melancholy), — " well," said he, " as Shaks-
peare has it, there be land-rats and water-rats ;
water-thieves andland-thieves ; pirates and poachers.
Now, if you have a mind to hear a story of the lat-
ter, I have one which may serve as a fellow to the
woeful narrative we have just heard."
" Nay," exclaimed the rector, " in the names of
Mirth and Mistletoe, let us not have any more me-
" Why," said the other, " although it has some-
thing to do with gun-shot and death, it is certainly
not quite so replete with misery as the history of
168 THE SMUGGLER.
the Smuggler— for instance, though deficient neither
in blood nor terror, it has nothing to do with mad-
u Pish !" said the rector, " let us have some-
thing to laugh at."
The squire's fair daughter, however, seemed de-
sirous of hearing it ; and the rector putting an extra
portion of brandy in his punch to support himself
through this promised tale of terror, requested the
narrator to begin.
. How is't, Laertes ?
Laertes. Why, as a woodcock to my own springe.
Harry Guerdon was a man who despised all
beaten tracks and common-place precedents. He
held the followers of custom as little better than
slaves; declaring that all the insipidities of life
arose from no other cause than the curbing our
free wills ; and that our spirit — if it prompt us to
fear God and honour the king — has a right to inde-
pendence in all else beside. Guerdon, in short,
striking down all the petty presumptions of fashion,
was resolved to have a way of his own in all
things ; and his obstinacy, as may be supposed,
got him into innumerable difficulties. The
disasters, however, which befel him on one occasion
(and which form the subject of my tale), were
172 THE POACHER.
more serious than ordinary ; and his waywardness,
in this instance, received a hint which remained
deeply impressed on his memory to the end of his
He had been recently married to a very amiable
girl, when he took up his abode at a small village,
distant about fourteen miles from the county town.
The clergyman of the place called upon him, and
Guerdon shortly after received an invitation to dine
at the parsonage-house. He was, however, pre-en-
gaged, having, in fact, resolved upon a journey to the
assizes ; and his original determination was not to be
The morning of his departure was wet and
foggy : " but no matter," said he, spreading a large
county-map upon the table, " I shall not suffer a few
drops of rain to damp the ardour of my love for
justice : so bring me my strong walking shoes and
leathern gaiters, and I'll make a short cut through
the forest, which, as the map informs me, will
reduce a journey of fourteen miles to a pleasant
walk of about eight." He then examined the
chart to see how he stood affected by rivers, bogs,
and other impediments ; took what he conceived
to be every necessary observation relative to the
points of departure and destination, and was now
THE POACHER. 173
prepared to set off upon his journey, proudly inde-
pendent of post-roads and finger-posts.
" You had better stay where you are/' said his
young wife, " and accompany us this evening to
the parsonage — particularly, too, as it is the first
invitation. Do, Henry, give up this visit to the
And what motive, you will ask, could induce a
man to oppose the wishes of a fond wife, and start
off from his comfortable fire-side on a raw Novem-
ber morning, with the prospect of an eight mile
walk through an almost impenetrable wood ?
Thus it was : — Guerdon was a loyal subject and
a great sportsman ; equally remarkable for his
addiction to game, and his veneration for the game-
laws ; and his chief motive at present for setting
at defiance the season's inclemency, was the desire
of attending as witness against a renowned poacher,
who having, with his gang, for some time back
rendered the expense of shooting-licences a dead
loss (or nearly so) to the more legitimate sports-
men of the county, was at length caught in a man-
trap, and brought up to justice.
" But/' said his amiable partner, " there will
be ample evidence against him without yours—you
had better remain. "
174 THE POACHER.
Nothing would do : not even the assurance that
in his absence she could derive no pleasure from
her intended visit, as it was impossible for her to
enjoy any thing in which he would not participate.
I have already alluded to Guerdon's intention
of traversing the forest. It is fit you should be
acquainted with his motive for so doing. That it
would be a saving to him both of distance and
time, was certainly the ostensible reason, but, at
the same time, a mere evasion, and he was rather
prompted to challenge the intricacies of the wood,
by having heard some one declare that " no man
in his proper senses would think of doing so."
" Are you aware," said his friend, " that this
forest is said to be haunted ?" —
Harry Guerdon laughed in his face.
" You are running into danger," said the
" That's my affair," said Guerdon.
" I would on no account attempt it myself."
u That's your business," replied the undaunted
Harry, " and so good-morrow to you."
Having entered the precincts of the haunted
forest, he proceeded onward in a right line, confi-
dent in the veracity of a pocket compass, which
ever and anon he carefully consulted, and no way
THE POACHER. 175
disheartened by the gloom which thickened around
him. He soon discovered, however, that he had
made light of a somewhat serious matter ; and it
was pride, rather than policy, which urged him to
prosecute a task so replete with difficulty. As he
advanced, his steps became more and more im-
peded by impenetrable thickets and fearful cavities.
Lofty mounds and miry swamps alternately tried
his patience ; and he scarcely knew whether most
to regard the romance or the comfortlessness of his
situation. Unquestionably, all pleasure now rested
in anticipation. He looked forward to the enjoy-
ment of the reputation which his dare-devil spirit
was now acquiring for him, and relished the idea
of laughing at the timid and superstitious. But
his feelings varied with his course, and he had
much ado to keep them at a proper height. Some-
times they would sink so low as to stand in need of
that powerful stimulus which miserable devils
derive from the contemplation of what has been
endured by devils more miserable ; and Guerdon
was occasionally obliged to resort to a comparison
of his own situation with that of a Cook, or Park.
He found some comfort in reflecting upon Polar
regions and African deserts. The Black-hole at
Calcutta proved an absolute cordial to him.
176 THE POACHER.
" 'Gad/' said he, " how those poor wretches must
have suffered ;" and he followed up this reviving
idea with a verse of " Away with melancholy F 1
though it must be confessed, in a tone better calcu-
lated to express " Hence, vain, deluding joys.""
Still he pressed forward, notwithstanding he began
to doubt the ultimate success of his exertions. His
course became more irregular and perplexing. The
trees, as he advanced, increased in number and
height ; and their thickly entwined tops, excluding
the little light which was afforded by a clouded
sun, rendered all below dark, damp, and dreary.
In groping his way through an obscure hollow, he
slipped down in the mud, soiled himself from head
to foot, and tore his thumb in a briar-bush. This
tried his metal, but it bore the proof ; and extri-
cating himself as well as he could from his miry
bed, he took out his handkerchief, and with the
most philosophical calmness, bound up the wound.
He had not proceeded many steps forward, when
he became sorely puzzled on the subject of the car-
dinal points; and you may readily imagine his
confusion, when, on searching for his compass, he
found it not ! It had evidently fallen from his
pocket during his late flounder in the mud.
Here was a dilemma ! which way to turn, he
THE POACHER. 177
knew not ! He made several fruitless circumam-
bulations in search of his lost monitor, but each
step that he took only served to bewilder him the
more. He looked around and around — walked to-
and-fro — mused upon his misery, but could de-
vise no plan of extrication. He wandered about
for hours, cursing his obstinacy, and hoping that a
due acknowledgment of his folly, and an earnest
resolution to be more tractable in future, might
recommend him to the merciful guidance of some
unseen spirit ; for certainly he despaired of escap-
ing his present difficulties without the assistance of
supernatural agency. To wish for a place at the
parsonage fire-side had been unreasonable — he
might, with more propriety, have envied the situa-
tion of the incarcerated poacher. Evening was
closing fast upon him, and his energies grew fainter
with the decrease of light. Truly, his case was
wretched ! Which way could he direct his steps,
when the chances of doing wrong were one hun-
dred and seventy-nine to one ?
As he stood rapt in unprofitable thought, he was
suddenly startled by a loud rustling among the
leaves. " Good heavens V 9 exclaimed the affrighted
man, and would have invoked the protection of his
invisible guardians, when the report of a gun
178 THE POACHER.
roused all the forest-echoes™ and he fell to the
ground smeared with blood !
How long he lay in the damp chilly embrace of his
mother earth he knew not; but, on the return of
his senses, he soon discovered that his nose was
buried a full inch in the mud. Convinced, at
length, that he was a living man, he ventured to
look up, nor did he raise his eyes without the fear
of encountering some forest bogle, or black hunts-
man — perchance a poacher ghost ! — The sight,
however, which offered itself was nothing so ter-
rible. There was a man sitting upon the trunk of
a felled tree, whistling cheerily as he hammered a
gun-flint. The dog, which crouched panting at his
feet, on seeing Guerdon, startled his master with
a bark. — "Who goes there?" exclaimed the
forester, levelling his fowling-piece at Guerdon.
" One," answered the latter, " who will make that
setter the poorer of a brace, in consideration of his
being instructed in the way to , " (naming the
" A right liberal offer," said the other. — " Who
are you ? From whence ? and where bound ? No
poacher y I trust ?"
THE POACHER. 179
"Poacher!" replied Guerdon; "no: on the
contrary, a mortal enemy to all such marauders.
I am now on my way to the assizes, to appear
against one of them, and, as I hope, to aid in bring-
ing about his conviction ."
"Aye; indeed!" replied the forester — "pray,
who may this fellow be?"
" No other/' answered Guerdon, " but Hal
Marsport, who was taken the other day poaching
on the grounds of the Lord Lieutenant, and is to
be brought to trial to-morrow.**
"Ah ! — a d d rascal, that Marsport," said
the forester, as he calmly proceeded to rectify his
gun-lock ; — " and so, Sir, you are on the way to
, are you ? Aye, you're right — you've evi-
dence enough, I warrant you, to convict the villain.
I did think of being in court myself; but have
business of importance elsewhere ; and, though
my stay in is much solicited, I may say
commanded, on account of the very important
part I might have to play in this affair, I have
still been obliged to refuse my presence. However,
you will do the work, I warrant you, and make up
" But," said Guerdon, " you return to ,
180 THE POACHER.
" O, aye," replied the forester, " to-night I will
be your companion and guide :" and so they pro-
Guerdon was most anxious to account for his
late fainting fit. Never before had he yielded the
contest to fear, though he confessed his heroism had
never undergone so severe a trial. The forester
acknowledged having fired his gun, and Guerdon,
who remembered hearing the report, had like-
wise a faint recollection of having received a violent
blow on the face, to the which he imputed the
temporary suspension of his senses. A man in his
situation, with a predisposition to alarm, harassed
in mind, and fatigued in body, would be naturally
susceptible of the least impression ; and the dread
aroused by the firing of the gun, being multiplied
by the immediately subsequent blow which he re-
ceived on the face, it was no wonder he should lose
all self-possession. 7 Twas a strange coincidence,
at least ; but neither he nor his companion could
solve the mystery.
As the night came on, a fog arose, so dense, that
the forester was occasionally perplexed as to
whether or no they were pursuing the proper path.
Striking a light, he took from his bag a small horn
lanthorn, and fixing it by an ingenious contrivance
THE POACHER. 18]
on the dog's head, he ordered the creature to pre-
cede us, which he did, and, as it appeared, was
more perfect in his geographical knowledge than
After much walking they reached the outskirts
of the forest, and the sound of a distant cascade
fell upon their ears. — " What!" exclaimed Guer-
don, " waterfalls on this side of the forest like-
" Have you, then, such things in your neigh-
bourhood ?" asked his companion.
" Yes," said the former, " but, are you a stran-
ger to that part of the county ?"
" Not a perfect stranger" said the forester,
" but still imperfectly acquainted with it."
u I shall be most happy to introduce you to its
beauties, when you may at any time feel inclined
to favour me with a visit ; and, in the earnest hope
that you will do so, I present to you my card of
" I am obliged to you," said his companion,
stopping short, and shaking Guerdon by the hand,
" but I must wish you farewell for the present ;
my way is over the bridge — yours, if you walk
about one hundred yards a-head, will be plain to
182 THE POACHER.
" But," said Guerdon, " where is the nearest
inn to be found ?"
" The first house you come to," replied the
other, " will afford you the accommodation you
desire. — Good night !"
" Farewell," said Guerdon; "you will bear in
mind the invitation I have given you ?"
ff Certainly," replied the forester, "and you shall
shortly know more of me. --Adieu i"
Guerdon had not proceeded many paces, when he
perceived a distant light gleaming through the
fog, and his comfort was much revived at the sight,
for he was in a truly miserable condition, sorely
perplexed with bruises and scratches — wet to the
skin, and fatigued past further bearing. Yet,
miserable as he felt> he knew not the extent of his
seeming wretchedness ; for the darkness and the
fog, while they had prevented him from making
any observations upon the person of his companion,
had likewise kept him in perfect ignorance of his
own disfigurement ; so that, when the door of the
inn (as he supposed it) was opened to him, he stood
as much surprised at the amazement of the house-
maid, as she did at the very extraordinary appear-
ance which he exhibited. Her exclamation of asto-
nishment brought into" the hall one of herfellow-ser-
THE POACHER. 183
vants, who,being a lady's maid, necessarily possessed
a finer sensibility, and, as might be expected, on
seeing Guerdon, she uttered a shriek of horror and
fell into a fainting fit ! The house-maid, though
not absolutely deprived of her senses, lost her
fortitude, and dropping the candle in her fright,
ran screaming for help through the house.
u Who's there ?" exclaimed some gentleman, as
he opened a parlour door P and thrust his head into
the dark hall.
" Nay, I know not," said the supposed appari-
tion. — " I was once a simple man, by name Harry
Guerdon ; but, whether I am now he or his ghost,
the Lord above knows ! This, however, I will
assure you — mortal or monster — I am equally
harmless : methinks I am still Harry Guerdon ; but
if I am a devil, I am a most unfortunate one. Pri-
thee, let me have a chamber in thine inn, with bed
and board till the morrow, nor doubt either my
will or ability to pay my reckoning ere I go."
" You are mistaken, fellow," said the gentleman,
" this is no inn."
" Then," replied Guerdon, " my forest guide
has deceived me."
" Mercy on us !" exclaimed a female (as though
she recognized the tone of the mysterious speaker),
J 84 THE POACHER.
and the next moment a young woman entered
the hall, just as the assembled household had made
their appearance, with lights, pokers, and rusty
Guerdon confronted them all, stiffened with the
surprise occasioned by this most extraordinary
scene, and beginning to imagine that he had only
escaped the demon of the forest to fall into the
clutches of the devils of the castle. His appear-
ance was, in truth, well calculated to astonish any
one; but the blood with which his face was
smeared, and the great splashes of mud which
disfigured his clothing, still failed to conceal the
identity of his person from one who. knew his
voice so well ; and poor Mrs. Guerdon, when she
cast her eyes upon what she took to be the mur-
dered body of her husband, followed the example
of the lady's-maid, and fell, with a shriek, to the
" Why, Mr. Guerdon," said one of the com-
pany (having eyed him attentively for some mo-
ments), " is it possible?"
" Possible ?" replied Guerdon, as he began to re-
cognize the person of the clergyman, to whose din-
ner-table he had been that day invited ; " possible !
Egad, I shall think nothing ^possible after this !
THE POACHER. 185
Pray, how comes it that I find my wife and your
reverence here ? — and there's Jack Holstein ! and
Miss Everett ! and my friend Burney ! and — and
— what the devil brings you all here ?"
" Are you mad ?" inquired the parson.
" Explain yourself, my dear Henry," said his
affrighted wife, as she gradually recovered.
" Have you been attacked by highwaymen, and
are you dangerously wounded ?"
Guerdon knew almost every face before him ;
but, on looking round the room, could claim no
previous acquaintance either with its form or furni-
ture — in short, how should he ? never having been
before in the Parsonage-house !
It was now evident to all parties that some grand
hoax had been performing ; and Harry, being clear
of enchantment, took a lanthorn and stepped home
for the purpose of putting himself a little in
In due time he reappeared, bearing a letter in
one hand, and a brace of birds in the other; and then
relating so much of his adventure as you are al-
ready acquainted with, he concluded by perusing
the letter just alluded to. It was as follows :
186 the poacher.
" My dear Sir,
" Lest the circumstance of your not being enabled
to fulfil your intentions concerning the poacher, &c.
should occasion you too much regret, let me afford
you some comfort by the assurance that the present
safety of your life is owing to the forbearance of
him whose punishment you meditated — to my
"My crimes are many — that is to say, my profes-
sional practice has been great. I owe the laws a
heavy reckoning, and send you a brace of birds,
the last fruits of my evil doings. One of them I
killed only a few minutes before I met with you in
the wood; and I rather think the blood upon your
face is no other than the blood of that same bird,
which struck you in its fall, and made your senses
for a time play the truant. No matter how I
know this, or why I concealed from you the infor-
mation of it till now. That, instead of blowing
your brains out, I practised the cheat upon you,
which the fog and darkness aided, is evidence of
my not being quite the villain you supposed me.
I escaped from my prison yesterday morning, and
am now on my way to no matter.
" Roast your birds, and fill a bumper to
« The Poacher."
THE POACHER. 187
" Bravo !" exclaimed the rector, " a very satis-
factory conclusion ; yet I cannot help thinking that
my young lady there 1 ' (pointing to the fair Emily)
" would prefer a story more pregnant with love."
" Indeed, Sir," replied she, blushing deeply at
the same time, " I do not think that either of the
preceding narratives have been deficient in that
subject. In both cases we have had an affectionate
wife as the heroine, and "
" Yes," said her young admirer, interrupting
her— " yes ; and, in my opinion, though the latter
was not doomed by fate to suffer such extremity as
was endured by the heroine of the former tale, she
had still sufficient cause for complaint in her hus-
band's indifference; for, certainly, he evinced but
little affection in preferring the persecution of a
poacher to the society of a wife."
This remark again brought blushes into the
cheek of the squire's susceptible daughter; and it
was clear the amorous youngster had made a pal-
pable hit. The squire himself looked as though he
had no objection to allow a continuance of " the
soft intercourse," and the rector rubbed his hands,
as if in joyful anticipation of tying the connubial
188 THE POACHER.
" Come, Sir/' said the narrator of the last story,
addressing himself to me, " I cannot but think
you have something in store for us. Allow me,
then, to call upon you for a contribution towards
the entertainment of the evening."
In compliance with his request, I drew forth the
manuscript of the odd gentleman, and read to the
company the following story.
She looked back with remorse and self-upbraiding at her past
caprices ; she turned with distaste from the adulation of her ad-
mirers, and had no longer any relish for amusement.
" But, why does he wear a wig?" asked my
cousin, as we parted, after a few moments' confer-
ence, from my friend O'Connor, having met him by
accident in the streets of Paris — " why does he
wear a wig ?"
'Twas an odd question ; nor could I, at the time,
answer it. — Joy and surprise, at thus unexpectedly
meeting with an old acquaintance, whom I had sup-
posed dead or irrecoverably lost, did not permit me
to examine whether his head dress was false, or
genuine. — u I'm sure it was a wig, v said my
cousin : my cousin was right : it was a wig — and
this is the history of it.
James O'Connor (as his name may import) was
192 THE WIG.
an Irishman, of the Roman Catholic persuasion,
residing in a small town no great distance from
Dublin, where he practised as surgeon and apothe-
cary. His abilities being great, and his address
gentlemanly, he soon obtained the confidence and
patronage of numerous patients, much to the dis-
comfiture of one Dr. Down, whose professional
celebrity had been on the wane ever since the ap-
pearance of his younger rival.
In the course of his professional duties, it was
O'Connor's fortune to be called to the bedside of
a young English lady, who lay very dangerously
ill in the house of a relation, where she had been
for some time staying on a visit. Doubtless, the
doctor felt some satisfaction in every opportunity
of exercising his medical talents. On the other
hand, he felt much pain in the contemplation of
suffering beauty. But, again — he experienced con-
siderable pleasure in discovering that his fair pa-
tient was one, whose absence from the promenade he
had remarked during the last few days, and — what
is more— had felt as a deprivation. He had seen
her before; had marked her loveliness; had de-
sired her acquaintance ; but had been hitherto un-
able to obtain an introduction. Thrice happy was
he, therefore, in the present chance! But there
THE WIG. 193
was evil in it, notwithstanding. He was over anxi-
ous about the matter ; apprehensive, and nervous
to a degree, which even disturbed his self-confi-
In the course of a few weeks (be it imputable to
fate or physic) his lovely patient was amazingly
altered for the better ; and the doctor was never
more pleased with success, nor more unwilling to
take a fee, than in the present instance. His calls
were protracted far beyond the time which ordi-
nary civility required ; and it was not till her
cheeks had resumed their wonted hue ; her eyes
their usual lustre ; that he suspended his profes-
sional visits. At length, however, she again made
her appearance in public. Once more she became
the charm of the drawing-room — the belle of the
But, alas ! be it known, Laura Kirkup was no
less remarkable for inflicting wounds than James
O'Connor was for healing them ; and the poor doc-
tor, in his turn, was placed upon the sick list. Laura's
weapons, however, in their execution, committed
a mischief which neither medicine nor surgical skill
could remedy. The doctor's malady was deep-
seated in the heart. It evinced itself in frequent
sighing and abstraction. He ceased to scold at
194 THE WIG.
whist, and trumped his partner's tricks: passed
people in the street without noticing them, and re-
primanded the shop-boy for not doing what he had
been forbidden to do. In short, there was a very-
lamentable bewilderment in his general manner.
His patients began to complain of his inattention ;
and, sad to relate ! it was, in. one instance, disco-
vered that he had sent a wrong medicine.
Alas, for O'Connor ! — It was a poor return,
me thinks, for all his time, trouble, and solicitude,
to ruin his peace of mind and discompose his pro-
fessional abilities. People wondered what it could
mean ; and no one, of course, was more surprised
at the circumstance than Miss Laura. — " It was
such a pity," she said, " that a young man, just
rising into fame and fortune, should alarm his pa-
tients by such an aberration of mind. It was really
a pity ; and she wondered what could be the cause
of it !*' — She appeared, in fact, quite concerned
about the doctor's confusion ; and Connor, hearing
of her solicitude, was, as may be readily supposed,
easily prompted to gratify the curiosity she had ex-
pressed upon the subject.
He therefore went to the toilette, and did his ut-
most to insure some degree of favour, — at least in
the eyes of his mistress : nor could he, in this respect,
THE WIG. 195
fail to be successful; for nature had given him a
fine manly figure, and his address was at once free
and prepossessing. Thus armed cap-a-pie in the
mail of love's witchery, he called upon the Jady ;
unbosomed his secret ; offered his hand — heart-
fortune — and finished in the true romantic style,
by a declaration of becoming her favoured slave for
life, or else departing his country for ever.
She felt flattered by his good opinion, but was
somewhat embarrassed by the suddenness of his
proposals; and thought, moreover, that their ac-
quaintance (ungrateful girl !) had as yet been too
brief to allow the formation of a just opinion con-
cerning the suitableness of their dispositions. And,
then, papa was to be consulted — that was one block
in their way : and, further, Mr. O'Connor was a
Catholic — that was another obstacle ; with u buts"
and " ands v ad infinitum.
The doctor left the house somewhat discouraged,
but not in despair ; for it was evident her objec-
tions were rather grounded on matters of form and
opinion, than upon any thing repulsive in his per-
son or manners ; and though he remained, as yet,
unable to look even into the probable issue of his
suit, he was by no means unsupported by hope.
Some little encouragement was indeed necessary to
196 THE WIG.
counterbalance the evil intelligence which awaited
him at home ; viz. that a certain great lady, who
had for some time patronised O'Connor, unable to
obtain his immediate attendance, on account of his
being elsewhere occupied, was necessitated, owing
to the extreme urgency of her case, to apply to his
rival, Dr. Down ; and under the skilful hands of
the latter gentleman, she had been safely delivered
of a son and heir !
In the course of a few weeks the time of Miss
Laura's visit had expired, and the native stars of
the village began secretly to congratulate them-
selves on the approaching disappearance of the Bri-
tish luminary whose effulgence had for too long
a period eclipsed their own. In the mean time,
Connor's exertions to ingratiate himself in the de-
sired quarter had not been fruitless ; and the fair
lady left him with looks of kind regret, and a mo-
dest, half-hinted intimation, that an occasional cor-
respondence would be indulged. She was not go-
ing directly home to her father's in London ; as she
intended passing a week or fortnight with a friend
at Shrewsbury; and it was settled that O'Connor
should direct his first letter to the said town. But
the enamoured doctor had no sooner penned the
epistle, than he felt an ungovernable desire to usurp
THE WIG. 197
its right of travel ; — " Shrewsbury !" he exclaimed,
" why, 'tis a mere step — The steam-boat will bear
me off to Holyhead in the course of a few hours ;
and a few hours more will conduct me to the pre-
sence of my angel."
He went over accordingly, and was received by
the lady in the most flattering manner. She ex-
pressed herself much surprised at the strange en-
thusiasm of his conduct, but was evidently pleased
by it. And, indeed, how could she be otherwise ?
— There was a something earnest and chivalrous
about it. Hitherto, no one had evinced half
the interest exhibited by O'Connor ; and, till now,
she had never seen a man so deserving of her fa-
vours. — The doctor, in short, had every reason to
believe that his wishes were accomplished ; and,
happy in the idea of a no very distant union with
the angelic fair one, he returned to Dublin.
Miss Kirkup's sojourn in the country was pro-
longed much beyond her original intention, and
the letters she wrote to her admirer during this
interval, were all that he could wish. The first
epistle, however, which he received from her, bear-
ing the London post-mark, was in an altered tone ;
the next, still less kind ; the third, brief, evasive,
and cold. Her explanations were equivocal and
198 THE WIG.
unsatisfactory ; and poor O'Connor had too much
reason to fear that he had been premature in his
self-congratulations of success. He immediately
posted off to England, under a heavy load of con-
tending emotions, determined to satisfy himself
whether his wretchedness was the issue of her
own fickle disposition, or the consequence of some
treachery on the part of a rival.
A few days only after his departure, as farmer
O'Drogherty was whistling through his potatoe-
field, he espied our poor crest-fallen doctor trudg-
ing along the turnpike road on horseback. The
animal, as luck would have it, possessed an unusual
share of sagacity, and seemed to be well acquainted
with all the windings and intricacies of the road
from Dublin to ; otherwise, the doctor's brain
had been of no benefit. — Scorched by the fire of
disappointment, it had fallen a hot cinder upon his
heart, and there it lay, like the light on Bardolph's
nose, " burning, burning P But, however, 'tis too
bad to joke upon the sufferings of poor O'Connor,
who looked for all the world like a culprit on his
way to be hanged. O'Drogherty advanced, and
with more hilarity, perhaps, than was consistent
with the occasion, exclaimed : —
THE WIG. 199
" By J — s, and Tm mighty glad to see you
back again : — how is it with ye ?"
" Jilted r exclaimed the other, but said no
more ; and, indeed, there was little else to say. On
waiting upon his charmer, in London, she gave
him an account of her conduct and motives, which
might have been intelligible, but that her sobs dis-
turbed the clearness of her delivery. It was pretty
evident, however, that inconsistency and evasion
were substituted for truth, and that her story was,
in short, a genuine u cock and bull,'' — leaving
some traces whence the rejected lover might infer,
that the difference in their religion had materially
caused the alteration in her sentiments.
The real fact was this : — She had seen another
man, exceeding even O'Connor in zealous protesta-
tion — overreaching him, as he had outdone others.
Her present lover was higher by two inches, and
richer by two thousand a year, than the former ;
and the wayward beauty, for once, listened to the
opinion of her father — for it coincided with her
Alas, for our poor Hibernian Romeo ! It was
now all over with him — u nor poppy, nor mandra-
gora, nor all the drowsy syrups of the east," could
aught avail him now. Quite— quite chap-fallen,
200 THE WIG.
his energies failed to aid him, and his bosom
yearned at the loss of its tenant — a tenant which,
ere now, had maintained within it a more unlimited
sway than had ever been wielded even by testy
housekeeper in the mansion of a superannuated old
bachelor. His manhood sank within him for want
of thought ; his lancets grew rusty for want of
use ; his professional character fell to the ground,
and the name of Down belied his rivals' rising
reputation. Sad reverse ! Jilted by a mistress —
superseded by a professional opponent ! Dr. Down
obtained all the practice ; O'Connor, all the pity ;
while Laura, whose mischievous beauty had
wrought these extravagant vicissitudes, flirted
through Kensington Gardens on the arm of the
O'Connor was a man of the most acute sensi-
bility ; and when his feelings were acted upon by
any violent cause, no matter what, they led him a
rough jaunt of it. He had met with scoundrels
before now, and he had called them by their right
name with impunity ; he had been sometimes
insulted, but never twice by the same person ; he
had thrashed two or three blackguards, and chal-
lenged as many gentlemen ; his manners bespoke
peace and goodwill, but it was pretty well known
THE WIG. 201
that his passions were not to be trifled with. The
kindness of a friend was never thrown away upon
him, for he was warm in all his attachments, and
earnest in gratitude ; and, for the same reason, he
was never forgetful of an injury, nor behind hand
in avenging it — till now.
Yes, — this was the one injury, which, failing to
rouse all violent resentment, only sank him into
the profoundest depths of melancholy. He wan-
dered about, scarcely knowing where, and caring
less, till his friends began to ruminate with feelings
of dread upon that seductive remedy for oblivion
which is so frequently found in fish-ponds and
canals ! Dr. Down, forgetting all former animosi-
ties, (his professional supremacy being now firmly
established,) became on a sudden, marvellously
solicitous about the distracted state of O'Connor's
mind ; and surely due credit must be awarded to
his conduct, as that of " a friend in need. 1 "
So many were the concomitant evils attendant
on poor O'Connor's principal grief, that an alarm-
ing state of despondency ensued, and all the efforts
of his neighbours to awaken within him a due
sense of his dignity as a good Catholic and man of
sense, completely failed. His mother and sister,
with whom he lived, witnessed his wretchedness
202 THE WIG.
with tears. They became apprehensive that insa-
nity would shortly be the consequence of his
malady — that a premature (perhaps violent) death
awaited him ; and they even ventured to give him
a timely hint concerning the sin of self-destruction,
and the sorrow such an act would cause in the
hearts of his affectionate surviving relatives. " Fear
not," said he ; " I am, indeed, the most wretched
of men ; but am not yet so destitute of religious
feeling as to dare the vengeance of Heaven. I
know myself to be sufficiently culpable in giving
way so much as I have done to the tyranny of
grief; but, 'tis impossible, at least, while I re-
main in this country — in this village — to regain
my fortitude. All other afflictions I could have
borne with pious — with manly resignation ; but
this — this," he exclaimed, bursting into tears, " is
the only woe I cannot — can not support. My
honour or my fame might have been traduced;
I could have avenged it : — my house and fortune
might have been lost to me ; I could have re-
gained them : — but, my heart — my heart" he em-
phatically exclaimed ; and was unable to finish the
sentence, for his utterance was choked.
One evening he spoke of being troubled with a
slight head-ache, and, as it appeared in con-
THE WIG. 203
quence, went to bed much earlier than usual. On
the following morning, breakfast had awaited him
an hour beyond the accustomed time of his coming
down stairs. His sister, fearing that his head-ache
might be increased, went to inquire how he felt
himself; but, on knocking at his room door, re-
ceived no answer. She knocked again and again
— still no reply. At length, alarmed at this un-
accountable silence, she entered her brother's
room — but found him not ! Her apprehensions at
the moment of opening the chamber door had
been of so fearful a kind, that the note she found
on the dressing table, afflicting as its import must
necessarily be under any circumstances, gave her
in the present instance some degree of comfort.
It contained her unfortunate brother's farewell ;
with a brief statement of his having, at length,
determined on taking the only path which could
possibly lead to an abode of peace, and enable him
to bear a life so embittered by the gall of wretch-
edness. He had just set off under the resolution
of eternal self-banishment from his country !
Heavy, indeed, was this intelligence ; but still
he lived; and though he had at present given
no intimation concerning that part of the globe
which he might have fixed upon as the spot of his
204 THE WIG.
seclusion, his mother was supported in the hope
that by his letters she would eventually be informed
He never wrote, however : and this was strange !
But, perhaps, he had his reasons for withholding
the correspondence; imagining that long silence
might induce the supposition of his death ; and
that it were better his mother should mourn
awhile his entire loss, than for ever lament his
protracted banishment. This was poor logic, it
is most true ; but O'Connor's philosophy was too
much impaired to secure a propriety of action —
'twas enough he attempted it ; and it is easy to
imagine that his heart (affected as it was) might
urge him to the adoption of measures no way con-
cordant with the maxims of reason. Mrs. O'Con-
nor suffered far more from the contention of hope
and fear, than she could have experienced in the
removal of her doubts, however melancholy might
have been the intelligence which led to the decision.
She loved her son ardently, both for his own sake,
and in respect to his being the exact counterpart of
her deceased and lamented husband.
To return to Laura. — She was not without heart;
but, till now, its warmth had been never roused.
She had mistaken the mere gratification experi-
THE WIG. 205
enced in being-admired, for feelings of affection to-
wards her admirer ; — a common error, I believe,
and the groundwork of half the unhappiness which
forms the alloy of matrimony. She had received
the empty adulations of fifty flatterers ; while O'Con-
nor, perhaps, was the only one who really loved her.
In Ms attentions, flattery had been a mere spice :
in the attention of others it formed the chief ingre-
dient : they had persevered in their attack upon her
weakest point, and the colonel, we are to presume,
was the foremost in extravagance. But in the ad-
dresses of O'Connor, there was probably all the
timidity of a loving but mistrustful heart ; all the
care of a man anxious to please ; and the delicate
backwardness of one, in whose love respect forms
a conspicuous share. But, alas ! what the honour-
able and manly solicitations of O'Connor had failed
to secure, his silly desperation, at once, fully ac-
complished ; and poor Laura, awakened from her
long dream of vanity, found herself sorely afflicted
by the pains of remorse. It was bitter enough to
contemplate the folly and cruelty which had marked
her past conduct, setting aside the evil conse-
quences of it ; but, when she reflected upon the
sincerity she had abused, and the worth she had
insulted, she began to envy even the victim of her
206 THE WIG.
infidelity. As a full proof of her earnestness and
contrition, she immediately cut short the colonel's
chase ; and the gallant son of Mars, having lost his
game — far from losing his senses likewise — bore the
disappointment like a true man, and started another
hare. Laura was by no means piqued to see the
coolness with which the colonel treated the matter :
it only served as additional evidence in proof of
Her nature had been perverted. She was an
only — and therefore — a spoiled child : not spoiled,
however, past recovery ; although she unquestion-
ably would have been, had she been deficient in
that strength of mind and natural goodness of heart
which the folly of her parents could only hide — not
destroy. The mother was vain ; but blessed with
that kind of sparkling frivolity in conversation,
manner, and opinion, which a dull husband takes
for wit ; and the child of their love, between the
folly of the one, and the stupidity of the other,
stood a fair chance of remaining a mere cypher in
the circle of society. But the better part of her
nature was now called into action. Her heart was
opened : her tenderness evinced itself in tears ;
and she felt convinced, that if O'Connor had really
reached her affections, when, in fact, he had only
THE WIG. 207
roused her vanity, she should have loved him all
along, as truly and faithfully as she could do now,
were it the will of fate that they should meet
What would she not now have given for a recur-
rence of past opportunity ? Sometimes she would
indulge in the idea of seeing him again, and specu-
late on the sweets of reconciliation. She corre-
sponded with her ci-devant proposed mother-in-law,
and was indeed willing to visit her ; but she could
never make up her mind to accept the old lady's
invitation, so averse was she to tread the scene of
her former treachery ; and she fancied that her
presence would be fraught with associations rather
tending to increase than assuage the sorrows of
Mrs. Connor and her daughter.
It was long ere she resigned all hopes of seeing
her lover again. At length, however, she yielded
to the general belief that he was gone for ever, and
from the extreme depression of her spirits in con-
sequence, it was feared she might follow his ex-
Three long years passed away, and with them
much of Laura's bloom. Deep sorrow had evi-
dently taken hold upon her heart ; and, though
her general health did not seem to be materially
208 THE WIG.
impaired, she was no longer distinguished by that
buoyancy of manner and laughter-loving expression,
which formerly rendered her conspicuous among
her sex. She appeared to avoid company as much
as possible ; showed herself careless to the atten-
tions of men, and indifferent to rivalry. Her con-
versation would usually turn upon music, literature,
and the fine arts : any thing, in short, rather than
the bandying of compliments ; and the very tone of
her voice betokened the alteration in her feelings.
Her step in the dance was graceful as ever ; her
voice in the song, as sweet ; but where she before
seemed to claim admiration, she now only appeared
to solicit indulgence.
Some vague reports were at length heard, leav-
ing it to be inferred that O'Connor was no more.
The effect of this intelligence upon the mind of
Laura was even more violent than on Mrs. O'Con-
nor and her daughter ; and old Kirkup, alarmed
at her increasing despondency, and fatigued by so
long a continuation of melancholy, for which he
had an utter abhorrence, determined on diverting
her thoughts by the charms and novelty of travel.
In pursuance of this resolve, he forthwith bought
an old posting carriage, and having learnt the Ita-
lian for beef steaks, boots, and a few other leading
THE WIG. 209
matters, transported his wife and daughter to the
continent, and, after a glance at the gaieties of
Paris, moved onward into Italy.
The good taste of Laura enabled her fully to appre-
ciate the classic beauties of this charming country;
and her health and spirits were shortly very visibly
improved by the change of scene and climate. After
visiting the principal cities, Mr. Kirkup determined
on taking up his abode at Florence, with the inten-
tion of remaining there for some months ; nor had
he been long settled in his new quarters, ere No.
3375, Piazza, S.M. Novella, became a marked spot
as the residence of " the beautiful English girl,"
— la helV Inglese, as she was termed, par excel-
Four years had elapsed since Laura received the
first intelligence of O'Connors exile, and little
doubt now remained upon the subject of his death.
Though his repentant mistress had begun slowly to
recover her health of mind and body, she was still
given to occasional dejection, and might be said
rather to enjoy tranquillity than happiness. The loss
of her lover was, perhaps, more easily to be borne
than the recollection of her conduct ; and any chance
allusion to certain times or circumstances, would
invariably disturb her. However, altogether, she had
210 THE WIG.
certainly altered for the better, and old Kirkup was
happy to find the chief purport of his continental
visit so satisfactorily answered. Neither did he
object to the attentions bestowed upon his daughter
by an Italian gentleman of good family and for-
tune — a marquis, withal : in respect to his title,
most agreeable to Laura's mother : in regard to
his religion, more fortunate than poor O'Connor had
been ; but, with respect to his suit, as finding favour
in the eyes of his foreign mistress, somewhat in
doubt ; for Laura, though she less deplored her
old lover, could never forget him ; and, however
sensible she might be of the high merits of // Sig-
nor Marchese, she only treated him with such kind-
ness as ordinary friendship might warrant, care-
fully avoiding every appearance of encouraging his
The marquis, however, was obstinately bent on
completing his alliance with one whom he termed
" the most charming of England's daughters 5"
nor was the deep seated affection, with which she
cherished the memory of her former admirer, at all
calculated to damp the ardour of his own attach-
ment : on the contrary, it inflamed it ; and he was
only the more anxious to possess, at least, some
share in that constancy and affection, which had
THE WIG. 211
been for so long a time uselessly expended upon
the dead. He thought it a pity she should waste
her sympathies on the grave ; and was resolved on
inducing her to the more rational purpose of be-
stowing them where they would be so ardently met
and duly appreciated.
He proceeded in his design with the utmost
care, and — I might add — cunning ; undermining
the citadel, and secretly possessing himself of all
the unguarded outposts of friendship, esteem, and
reliance, ere he ventured to throw out " the flag
and sign of love." The delicacy with which he
alluded to the memory and cause of his deceased
rival, was no way prejudicial to his own interests.
Besides, the marquis, in some points of his con-
duct, resembled him whose fate she had so much
reason to lament ; and she was, at least, determined,
if she could not love, to treat no worthy man with
cruelty, particularly if he bore any resemblance to
the faithful Hibernian. Like O'Connor, the mar-
quis was gentle, though fervent ; never guilty of
unmeaning compliment ; well informed; handsome
— (but that was nothing)— in short, he had many
qualifications, highly recommendatory, and she
could not but acknowledge them.
'Twas, therefore, now time to drop all stratagem,
212 THE WIG.
A breach being made, the marquis followed it up
immediately by a formal declaration of his passion ;
and received a check. The refusal was, however,
qualified with assurances of her esteem for his
many virtues ; her admiration of his acquirements ;
her gratitude for the great delicacy he had evinced
throughout the whole course of their acquaintance,
which, she hoped, would not be discontinued alto-
gether ; and, in conclusion, some slight intimations
were held out, that if it had not been for certain
circumstances, connected with a former engage-
ment, the marquis,' s flattering kindness might have^
met with an adequate return.
The marquis, on his part, admired the firmness
of the lady; but thought, of course, that a relaxa-
tion of her present determination would be, in no de-
gree, indicative of any weakness ; for she had amply
paid the debt of early severity, and to mourn longer
in single barrenness was to cheat nature of her due,
and to offend (though the offence was certainly
most pardonable) even virtue.
Mr. Kirkup talked the matter over with his
daughter : but, if his persuasions had any weight,
it was certainly more attributable to a sense of filial
duty on the part of Miss Kirkup, than to any
strength of reasoning on his. Her mother got
THE WIG. 213
violent upon the subject ; but Laura was not to be
frightened into marriage ; and the silent eloquence
of the marquis did more towards the subversion of
her resolves, than any thing which her parents could
say. After a time, he ventured again to address
her upon the tender subject. She hesitated ; and,
after a pause, without either blush or emotion, can-
didly put to him the following question : —
"Can I, Signor Marquis, feel justified in giving
away my handy while my heart remains divided ?""
u Certainly — if your admirer, like myself, is
content to be blessed on such terms."'
" But, surely, you are not so. v
" Assuredly I am" replied the marquis.
" The better part of my heart," said Laura, as
the tears started into her eyes, " is in the grave
with James O'Connor f"
;< 0, v exclaimed he, " give me but so much of
your heart as may be unentombed, and I shall be
" I will think upon it,* said she.
She kept him in suspense for some time, and, at
length, yielded. In a month she agreed to become
One of the oddest whims that ever entered the
head of woman now took possession of her brain ;
214 THE WIG.
nor could all the persuasions of her parents serve
in any way to avert her determination of becoming
a Roman Catholic. Her proposed husband de-
sired it not ; and she had certainly too much good
sense to be captivated by the mere " pomp and
circumstance' 9 of the papal worship. Be it from
whatever cause, her resolution was fixed ; and her
parents, to say truth, were now rather careless about
the matter. Failing in the first instance to dis-
suade, they ultimately suspended their attempts ;
and it was at length decided, that, on a certain
day, the ceremonies of her conversion and marriage
should be performed together in the church of
S. M. Novella.
Overjoyed as the marquis was at possessing the
right of constant attendance upon his fair one, he
still found the month of courtship drag slowly on.
Laura was less impatient ; indeed, her behaviour
exhibited no ardour — she appeared contented, but
The marquis was well known in Tuscany, his
title recommending him to the higher circles of the
dukedom ; and his frequent appearance in public,
together with the splendour of his equipage, ren-
dering him conspicuous in the eyes of the vulgar.
His unostentatious benevolence had likewise con-
THE WIG. 215
tributed much to his favour among the poorer
Florentines: his weekly soirees formed a never-
failing inducement to the fashionable : while a well
furnished museum and picture gallery, ever open
to general inspection, secured him a due share of
popularity among all classes. Whenever he formed
one among the gay throng who frequented the
evening ride in the Cascina, he was marked as a
constellation of the first magnitude ; and the Con-
tadine would exclaim, as he whirled rapidly by in his
carriage, " Ecco, il buono Marchese 'f* He was, in
fact, the marquis. As an object of general inte-
rest, he almost disputed the precedency with the
grand duke himself; and the latter, it was ob-
served, always returned the marquis's respectful
salutation with peculiar courtesy.
Thus much for the marquis We have already
seen, on the other part, that Laura had attracted
general notice ; and certainly her appearance was
such, that whatever notice she did attract, could
not be otherwise than favourable. She was, per-
haps, at this time, even more to be dreaded by the
susceptible, than during her glittering reign some
years before. Coquetry and flirtation in a woman,
when carried to a certain extent, have their effect
upon some men ; but it is a mode of warfare far
216 THE WIG.
less calculated to insure a decided victory, than
that more genuine effeminacy, which is abashed by
boldness and shrinks from display; which claims
nothing as a right ; evinces no disposition to patro-
nize; but, on the contrary, tacitly acknowledges
dependence, and seems to solicit support. Yet,
men have their vanities; and to enjoy the empty
favours even of a woman who has no real affection
to bestow, is among them. They hold such pre-
ference as they wear a smart coat ; and the grati-
fication rests less in the true value of the thing,
than in the observation which it may attract.
Laura's looks were altered with her manners.
The beauty which had charmed before, charmed
still ; but, as in the case of Astarte, " 'twas tem-
pered all, and soften'd into mildness." If her
charms were less sparkling, they were more insi-
nuating. The women could not feel jealous of
such unostentatious dominion, while the men were
obliged to acknowledge its supremacy. She had
but one rival in Florence, and that a child of
Praxiteles — the Venus de Medici.
Both parties, therefore, having a hold upon the
public notice, it may be readily supposed that the
intelligence of their probable union would prove a
matter of considerable interest ; and, no sooner
THE. WIG. 217
was it known in one quarter, than it spread about
the place like a conflagration. Still our heroine's
intended conversion was a circumstance more
deeply touching the minds of the Italians, than
her marriage with their noble compatriot ; and the
day appointed for the joint ceremony was looked
forward to as a kind of fete, or holiday, and anti-
cipated with impatience.
On the eventful morning, much to the dismay of
poor Laura, crowds of people were seen collecting
in the Piazza. Many had even put on their best
dresses for the occasion. The Contadine were
there in all their festive finery ; their gold earrings,
crosses, and buckles, with their black beaver hats
bearing a mighty plume of ostrich feathers. Car-
riage after carriage drew up to the door of the
church, each bearing a family of fair Florentines,
with their nurse bedizened in all the splendours of
white lace and yellow ribbons. Spectators, in
short, of all degrees, were huddled together in
anxious expectancy ; and among the motley throng
was many a fat friar and smooth-browed priest,
chuckling with a kind of triumph at the idea of
what was forthcoming. The fact of a Protestant
— and an English woman too, — embracing the
218 THE WIG.
Roman faith, was deemed a full warrant for the
suspension of all ordinary labour.
All was now in readiness : — certain qualms dis-
turbed the mind of poor Laura ; and she became
so nervous and agitated, that it was more than
doubtful whether or not she would be able to go
through the ceremonies. On her ascending the
carriage, a general buzz pervaded the square, and
as the crowd opened to let her pass, the old women
exclaimed, in the most sugared tone possible, —
"Bellinar—"Dio la benedica!"—" Che beOezzaP
Of course, the ceremony of conversion was to
precede that of marriage ; but considerable diffi-
culty arose on the subject of certain explanations
necessarily required, concerning the difference of
the faiths. The priest desired the most precise
information as to our sacraments and creed. He
wished to have a verbal translation of the belief,
and certain parts of our catechism ; but the mar-
quis understood little of English ; Mr. Kirkup less
of Italian ; while Laura and her mother were so
bewildered, that they could neither of them be of
any service in the way of elucidation.
" Send for brother James," said one of the monks
of the Franciscan monastery adjoining, and a mes-
THE WIG. 219
senger was despatched accordingly. When brother
James made his appearance, he was summoned into
the presence of the officiating priest, the marquis,
and Mr. Kirk up ; and they remained closeted
together for some time. At length, the interroga-
tory was brought to a satisfactory conclusion, and
all things being made clear, the ceremony pro-
ceeded. It was long and tiresome; the day re-
markably hot, and smelling-bottles were as plenti-
ful as Ave Marias. Laura was near fainting once
or twice ; however, with the utmost difficulty she
managed to sustain herself to the end, and then
sank exhausted into her mother's arms. At this
moment father James stepped forward to offer his
assistance : —
It was not the first time Laura had benefitted
The eyes of Father James and Miss Kirkup
encountered at the same instant, — the former main-
tained his self-possession, but the lady went into
violent hystericks, and people wondered what was
the matter !
It was evidently impossible that the ceremony
could be concluded that day ; and though a sad
disappointment to the marquis, he was obliged to
put up with it. She became very ill ; kept her bed
220 THE WIG.
all the next day; but, during the two following
days, appeared to be gradually recovering. " I
promise you firmly," said she to her anxiously
inquiring lover, " I will be married before a week
On the morning of the fourth day, there were
two marvellous hubbubs going on in Florence; the
one, at No. 3375, Piazza, S. M. Novella, where a
distracted lover was vainly seeking a lost mistress :
the other, at the convent opposite, where the Fran-
ciscans were all in a stir at the sudden disappear-
ance of one of their brotherhood !
I shall not trouble the reader with a relation of
the means by which the friar deceived the police,
and carried off the lady. Love is pregnant with
stratagem when difficulties intervene, and Dr.
O'Connor (Father James no longer) soon recon-
ciled the fears of his beloved Laura and the
scruples of his conscience. The difference in their
religions was no longer a bar to their union ; and
the melancholy monk, throwing off his sorrows
with his cowl, has returned to love and life, and is
the happiest of the sons of Erin. The fugitives
were on their way to England when I met them at
Paris. Long mortification had worn O'Connor to
the bones; but Laura's love, aided by a few
THE WIG. 221
months' recreation amid the scenes of his earlier
life, have set him up completely, and a handsomer
couple than the doctor and his wife is not to be
found in Ballimakin.
Now r , you will please to observe that friars
have always the crown of the head completely
bare ; it was, of course, necessary that O'Connor
should conceal his baldness, to prevent suspicion
during his escape from Italy — and that was his
reason for wearing a wig.
The story of the Wig being concluded, some
discussion arose upon its merits and tendency. Miss
Emily was much pleased with it, and returned the
gentle compliment, which, it may be remembered,
was conveyed in the remark made by her lover, at
the close of the former narrative. She was " charm-
ed with the forgiving disposition of the hero ; but
could scarcely pardon the caprice and infidelity of
the heroine, notwithstanding her extreme remorse
and ultimate behaviour. n
The rector decidedly objected to one point in the
story, affirming that the " ultimate" conduct of the
heroine had been rather spirited than praiseworthy.
222 THE WIG.
" The circumstance of her conversion," said he,
" though it heightens the interest of the story, de-
cidedly impairs its moral tendency : and I sincerely
wish that Cupid and Fate could have brought
about the denouement, without dressing their chief
actors in the tinsel of Catholicism."
The company then rose to take their departure
for the night; but the worthy squire, anxious to
pacify the startled conscience of the rector (whom
he knew, with all his prejudices, to be a well mean-
ing man), begged that each would once more reple-
nish his glass to—
" The Protestant Ascendancy IV
Peace ! thou talk'st of nothing.
Having business still farther up the country, I
was prepared to bid a final adieu to my worthy
host, when he insisted on my revisiting his mansion
in my way back to town. After the usual hesita-
tions, becoming a man of modesty, I answered as
inclination prompted, and assured him that ere long
I would again partake of his hospitality.
On getting into the coach I was somewhat sur-
prised to find myself in the company of young Al-
fred — none other than the love-sick Romeo of the
preceding evening. The pleasure was not the less
because unexpected, and I congratulated myself
upon being so fortunate in my companion ; for, be-
side ourselves, there was no inside passenger.
226 TRAVELLING COMPANIONS.
It soon appeared, however, that I had been
overhasty in estimating the conversational inclina-
tions of my fellow-traveller, whose internal resources
were evidently such as to render him completely
independent of all ordinary companionship. His
first salutation was more than usually courteous ;
but, after a few passing remarks, he became gradu-
ally silent, thoughtful, and abstracted. With his
arms folded, he reclined within the angle of the
coach, and his eyes became fixed as his thoughts.
Every now and then a peculiar smile, and still more
frequently a sigh, would seem to indicate that his
heart rather than brain was concerned in the sub-
ject of his meditations ; nor would it have been dif-
ficult for any one, who, like myself, had witnessed
his behaviour on the preceding night, to judge of
what was passing in his mind. Concluding that
my reader has attentively perused the statement of
what then occurred, I deem it unnecessary to ex-
plain why my very pensive companion started from
his reverie at hearing a poor cottager suddenly ex-
claim — " Emily, you little d — 1, come out of the
Whether the mere pronunciation of the lady's
name, or the connexion of so angelic a sound with
another so diabolical, was the cause of the deep
TRAVELLING COMPANIONS. 227
sigh which immediately followed, I know not. He
became more thoughtful than ever ; and in the
fervour of his heart whispered a blessing on his lady-
love, not in so subdued a tone, but that I could
distinctly hear him.
There is certainly something in the motion of a
coach peculiarly conducive to the workings of
thought ; and in proportion that a man is by na-
ture imaginative, he is usually silent as a stage tra-
veller. It is true, the English vary considerably in
this particular, and may be divided into the talka-
tive, the somniferous, and the meditative travellers.
The somniferous, though, in point of fact, he can
scarcely rank above the luggage which accompanies
him, is a much more welcome companion to the me-
ditative traveller than the talkative gentleman ; not
that the snores of the one are in themselves less
disturbing than the prattle of the other, but that
they require no answer ; while a talkative compa-
nion is seldom reasonable enough not to expect a
reply to his arguments, although he may conceive
them unanswerable. — Could he but be satisfied with
silent acquiescence, all were well ; but it is seldom
he can hear a remark without a wish to provoke
Female travellers, I believe, are rarely disin-
228 TRAVELLING COMPANIONS.
clined to be communicative ; and, generally speak-
ing, they may exercise their volubility without
taxing our patience. If they be amiable, much
licence will be allowed them: if pretty, they may
monopolize without offence. In fact, a woman of
beauty, and a man of wit, may converse at large ;
for it is our sensibility rather than our sense, which
is acted upon in both cases.
But, under whatever circumstances, a lover must
be allowed the full privilege of silence when travel-
ling by the coach. A woman's beauty, if it remind
him not of his Thyrza — a man's wit, if it hinge not
on the ecstacies of love, can have no interest for him.
Conscious, that, while he is on his journey, no
active steps can be taken towards that worldly
advancement which may be necessary to the acquire-
ment of his object, he feels the greater licence to
indulge in the luxuries of imagination. The exer-
tions of the horses, for the time, supersede his own,
and the coachman becomes the temporary director
of his fate. Thus emancipated from all considera-
tion of the means of attainment, he revels in con-
templation of the object attained ; and the scenes of
happiness he pictures on his mind, are as varied in
their colouring, and as rapid in their change, as
the landscape through which he passes.
TRAVELLING COMPANIONS. 229
Thus, pursuing my own reflections, my grave
companion suffered little from interruption. He
would occasionally make some trifling remark as a
tribute to civility ; but I, at length, relieved his
anxieties, in this particular, by feigning to doze.
We had not proceeded very far upon our jour-
ney, when the coach stopped to take in a new pas-
senger. He was a country gentleman, residing in
the neighbourhood ; and, as it very shortly appeared
in his discourse (though he evinced no signs of
intimacy with my companion), was not unacquaint-
ed with Mr. Wheatley. He spoke of the worthy
squire in the highest terms — u A better man," said
he, w there is not living ; and he has a family also
who are likely to do him credit "
The apprehensive lover turned his head towards
u His wife, Sir," continued the former, "is
always doing some good in the neighbourhood;
and, as to his eldest daughter Miss Miss
zounds ! my memory is one of the worst in the
(Few situations, apart from danger, are more
agitating than that of a lover, under the circum-
230 THE LOVER.
stances which now environed Master Alfred. All
who have experienced an earnest and an early
attachment, must have been frequently subject to
similar perplexity. Yet, why should it be thus ?
By what strange perversion of nature is it, that we
should fear the casual mention of a name, which is
in itself the very essence of harmony ? Nothing is
so sweet — yet nothing so subversive of fortitude ;
and, while all other themes are devoid of interest,
this alone is encountered with dread.
Mark the stricken youth at a dinner table. The
room resounds with conviviality : compliment and
courtesy fill up the intervals. The huntsman tells
of five barred gates, and fearful precipices — the
traveller of the bandit's resort, or Alpine pass : the
politician is vociferous in decrying the measures of
the cabinet ; while the theatrical man is louder
than all in the support of his favourite tragedian.
But the lover hears not— sees not. rt His eyes are
with his heart, and that is far away"— there,
where some Emily roams amid nature's beauties,
like the moon among the stars.
Lo, the table resounds beneath the knuckle of
the toast-master ; and with a cheek reddening
under the consciousness that his feelings are either
THE LOVER. 231
known, or will be discovered, he fills with trembling
hand his glass to — " her we love best."
The inexpressible she is perhaps by accident
personally alluded to. How his heart palpitates.
Her playing is admired : his cheek is again suffused,
while his love and pride swell under the eulogium
bestowed upon her temper. Her person is the
next subject of panegyric. Ah ! that touches him
too nearly. Doubtless, it is most delightful to find
that the object of his love is appreciated by others:
but, can they appreciate without envy? and can
they envy without wishing to supplant ? He would
have her admired, but not courted; and he fears
the rival merits of others, for he is modest, and
mistrusts his own.
Such fears and jealousies, however, may in some
measure be accounted for : but how shall we ac-
count for a man's hesitating to call that his own,
in the possession of which his happiness is vested.
Concealment scarcely seems politic : wherefore
should we be ashamed to reveal ? Why affect to
disown a passion that does honour to the heart ?
or seek to hide, as among its weaknesses, the most
divine — certainly the most amiable passion of our
nature ? Does the thirst of renown actuate us, or
the desire of wealth incite ? We boldly proclaim it
232 TRAVELLING COMPANIONS.
by our words, or evince it by our zeal. We boast
the fruits of o'er- wrought ambition, and glory in
acts of blood. We occasionally affect a little mo-
desty in the performance of charitable deeds, and
more frequently pretend to diffidence on the subject
of our own merits : but, our love alone we hesitate
to acknowledge. In the servitude of Fame or
Ambition we exhibit our fetters with all the non-
chalance of a galley slave ; but, only detect upon
us the silken chains of Cupid ; and, like Master
Alfred, while our companion was endeavouring to
recal to his memory the name of Emily, we blush
for very shame.)
u Miss Emily," said I.
" Aye," continued our companion, " such is the
name of the sweetest girl in the county."
Master Alfred had now both heard and travelled
enough. The coach drew up to his father's door,
and wishing us a brief u good morrow," he hastily
I found my new companion a most agree-
able man ; he was perfectly ignorant that he
had been seated by the admirer of Miss Wheatley;
but not unacquainted with the existence of some
TRAVELLING COMPANIONS. 238
u The young man," said he, " is 1 believe
clever and well principled, but of a very sensitive
disposition ; and, as I am told, equally capable of
loving with truth, and of being jealous without
In the course of our journey we passed a sub-
stantial looking residence on the road side. On
inquiring as to its possessor, my fellow-traveller
said that it belonged to a Mr. Halworth. " Do
you know any thing of him ?" said he.
" Nothing;" I replied.
" He scarcely knew himself some years back,"
continued my informant.
After a short pause, he proceeded as follows.
Is it come to this, i' faith ? Hath not the world one man, but he
will wear his cap with suspicion ? Shall I never see a bachelor of
three score again ?
Much ado about Nothing.
" I'll be a bachelor for the remainder of my
life," said Harry, as he sat at his wine one after-
noon : " yes, as Benedick says, / will die a
" And I, ,? said his sister Kate, " (to use the
language of Beatrice) am of your humour for that
— I will die a maid."
" Well," said their mother, " (to quote from
the same author) — as time shall try: in time the
savage bull doth bear the yoke?
The old lady, however, disapproving all rash
resolutions, hoped in time to see them both well
mated. " As your vows," said she, " were put
up iii the language of Benedick and Beatrice, I
238 HENRY HALWORTH.
trust they were also formed in the same spirit;
that like Benedick and Beatrice, you may be
hereafter justified in breaking them.""
Harry is a fine open-hearted fellow, with the
frame of a Hercules, and the spirit of an eagle.
Though brought up chiefly amid scenes of rural
activity, and accustomed from his youth to the
hazards of the chase, his education has been by no
means neglected, and he is equally an adept in
solving the difficulties of Euclid, and mastering
the fury of a young horse. He does not exactly
possess that capability for small talk which renders
a man agreeable as a drawing-room companion;
but his society is still extremely enviable, and his
friendship such as every one must be proud to
possess. His chief employment now consists in
farming an estate left him by his father ; this, and
the sports of the field, form his outdoor occupa-
tions ; otherwise, he is a domestic character, fond
of his family, his books, and his fireside.
He has, it is true, a few peculiarities of opinion
which lead him occasionally into violent argu-
ments ; for, whether in the right or the wrong, he
is always in earnest. Liberal in his politics, he
entertains a few notions that smack of illiberality ;
and I am ready to allow that he is too much given
HENKY HALWORTH. 239
to visit the errors of individuals upon entire bodies.
This is, perhaps, a common fault with all men of
enthusiasm, who are for the most part incapable of
sifting their opinions, and utter what their feelings
dictate, rather than what their judgment approves.
They establish notions without consideration, and
censure upon impulse. Thus it is with my friend
Halworth. Having met w r ith a few cases of delin-
quency among the members of the church and
army, he regards the entire establishments with
suspicion. He thinks the clergy are getting lazy,
and the soldiery impudent ; and I have heard him
declare, that were he a married man with a family
of pretty daughters, he should be careful how he
introduced either a young churchman or warrior
into his house. — Acknowledging the importance of
both their vocations, he thinks their irregularities
meet with too great a licence, and is equally severe
when he discovers hypocrisy in a black coat, or
debauchery in a red one.
He has likewise a special contempt for " pretty
fellows" (as they are termed,) and their petty
gallantries ; " being," as he used to say, " fully
assured, that universal benevolence is inconsistent
with matters of heart between the unmarried of
the sexes, — that such affection, if not concentrated,
240 HENRY HAL WORTH.
is nothing worth ; and that he who is attentive to
all women cares for none? He had no objection
to the conversation of a sensible woman, and would
be always happy to take a ramble with any lady
who might feel inclined to honour him with her
company ; " but," said he, " if ever you see me
c bandying compliments' with a giggling girl, who
expects me to feed her vanity with flattery, and to
pocket her pert repartees with patience — c write
me down an ass/ w
Harry, in fact, at one time avoided female
society in general ; not that he was intimidated by
the presence, or insensible to the charms of the
fair, but that he felt his own merits somewhat
scandalized by the countenance which he had seen
given to the unmeaning compliments of men, whose
conversation he should have considered as a positive
insult to the understanding of any woman ; and I
observed that he always withdrew under a proper
sense of his own inadequacy, whenever a gentle-
man appeared in the room with mustachios and kid
gloves. He would, with all his heart, do any thing
really serviceable to the ladies, — would put him-
self to any inconvenience (nor think it so) for the
purpose of holding an umbrella over them when it
rained, or of seeing them home on a dark night.
HENRY HALWORTH. 241
He was willing (as he was able,) to protect them
in a crowd, or carry them two at a time (for the
sake of propriety) across a marsh or miry road ;
but he was too proud to enlist as a competitor for
those favours which he conceived were more easily
to be won by flattery than by candour and truth.
He was, however, mistaken in this particular.
He underrated both the discrimination of the ladies
and the hold which he possessed upon their esti-
mation. The married women were as partial to
him as they well could be, consistently with that
duty which they owed their lords ; and several
were the maidens who would have been willing to
shew their sense of his sterling qualities, if he had
afforded them an opportunity. They knew how to
appreciate the worth of manliness better than he
imagined; and I hope, that, ere this, he has dis-
covered such to be the case.
He lived with his mother and sister, and loved
them from his very heart. I remember, on the
first evening of ray being in company with them,
they were conversing upon the subject of marriage,
and he was earnestly enjoining his sister, if ever she
should think of becoming a wife, to choose " a
husband of God's making," and not some " popin-
jay, who lives but in his form and fair habiliments. *
242 HENRY HALW0RTH.
— " Do not," said he, " mix the blood of the Hal-
worths with that of the first lapdog that crosses the
threshold. — Do not let go my grasp till you have
met with some one who can love you as well? —
" But, Harry ," said the mother, " you must be
aware that a woman can scarcely form a correct
judgment of her husband till it is too late to remedy
any evils that may be the consequence of her mar-
" Why,° said Harry, in reply, " something must
depend upon herself. She must, of course, meet
her husband half way in all his whims and weak-
nesses — far be it from me to defend her indiscri-
" Alas P said Mrs. Hal worth, with a sigh, " I
have known girls as deserving as herself, who have
been deceived, though married under the most aus-
picious circumstances ; and Kate, for aught we
know, may meet with a husband, w r ho will only
take her hence to break her heart !"
u And if he does" said Harry, with vehemence,
" I'll break his head, and fetch her home again !"
His mother and sister would occasionally joke
him about some pretty girl or other ; but he
always denied the charge, and at one time was
even rash enough to defy the little god in all his
HENRY RALWOItTH. 243
power. He said that he had stood the test of
beauty and of time — for he was now thirty years
old — and intended for the future to pay his court
to the married women, and not " meddle with the
young girls" till an additional twenty years should
authorise the freedom.
Vain was the determination !
It certainly was a most extraordinary circum-
stance, that, of all the women in the neighbour-
hood, he should fix upon the only one who might
be said to realise his opinion of female demerit :
yet such was Miss Amelia Musgrave — the prettiest
girl in the place, and the vainest. No sooner had
she attracted attention by her beauty, than it was
superseded by disgust for her affectation; and
Harry Hal worth— as if to prove the impotence of
the stoutest heart that ever boasted invulnerability
— became enamoured of her !
The first symptom of my hero's apostacy ap-
peared in his dress, which was completed with
more nicety than usual : the jockey coat was ex-
changed for one of a London cut ; and the spotted
neckerchief was superseded by a cravat of the
whitest muslin. Reports had already found their
way to the principal tea-tables in the neighbour-
hood^ and became still more general on his having,
244 HENRY HALWORTH.
upon one occasion, escorted the lady through the
high street. This circumstance, . in short, was
deemed conclusive. Successively related at each
house, it gained an accession at every transfer, till
it reached the parsonage at the end of the town,
when suppositions were augmented into certainties,
and appearances established as facts. The clergy-
man's wife issued a second edition, improved by
her own addenda ; and it was soon almost univer-
sally understood, that if Mr. Halworth and Miss
Musgrave had not been already united in some
other parish, the ceremony would be immediately
performed in their own.
When all this came to Harry's ears, he had but
one reply to make : he honestly confessed that he
liked Miss Musgrave, and was only sorry that the
report was so great an exaggeration.
** However,"" said he, " 'tis a pity all this talk
should be about nothing ; so I'll e'en give them
cause for a little more tattle, and make the young
lady a regular offer."
He did so— and was refused. Neither was he
rejected in the civilest way possible; and he sub-
sequently heard that she had deemed his offer
" bold" and " presumptuous.*"
" Why, d — n it," said Harry, " I don't exactly
HENRY HALWORTH. 245
see how I can have offended her, either ; egad, I
think I have paid her a very high compliment.
Have I not broken my vow of celibacy on her
account? Have I not offered her the dominion
of my house? the possession of my ewes and
lambs? — HI be a bachelor/ 5 said he, " for the
remainder of my life."
And thus we return to the point whence we set
Harry evinced more philosophy under his disap-
pointment than he had shewn in the selection of
his lady-love ; and was to be seen, on the following
morning, whistling cheerily through his farm-yard
— -his heart once more independent, and his spotted
There was, just about this time, a detachment of
foot-soldiers quartered in the town, which assumed
in consequence an appearance of life and gaiety
such as the peaceable inhabitants were but little
accustomed to. The young officers^ in all the pride
of their dazzling accoutrements, strutted about the
streets as usual, winning smiles from every shop-
keeper's daughter as she sat at the window, decked
in her holiday finery ; while the market-place, which
erst now had only known the sounds of some gab-
bling cabbage vender, or honest poultry woman out-
246 HEN It Y HAL WORTH.
cackling her ducks in praise of their excellence, re-
sounded with the beat of " the spirit-stirring drum,"
and glittered with all the blazonry of martial pomp.
— Mothers were busy in the guardianship of their
daughters virtue, and husbands over anxious that
the protective power should be solely vested in them-
selves. Red coats and epaulettes are, it must be
allowed, moving things, and the eloquence of their
wearers is proverbial, while the music that aids
them in the field assists them in the promenade.
Among the officers was one Captain Sullivain,
who, having served his apprenticeship amid all the
shallow fopperies of St. James's Street, purchased
a commission in this regiment, and assumed the
dress of a soldier —
' c Why, God-a-mercy !
When I think upon him, 'tis a miracle
That any woman should for such a thing
As he was — such a jay bedizen'd in
The feathers of a peacock — leave the wing
Of a fine eagle spirit. — Yet it is —
For such a civetted ; inglorious knave !"
He was a complete lady's man — one of those ex-
quisite personages, whose chief business consists in
making calls upon the fair — in beauing them about
from place to place — procuring them lip-salve, and
HENRY HALWORTH. 247
taking boxes for them at the theatre. At a ball it
was his pride to " cut out" (as he termed it) " all
the vulgar fa-e-llows," and to walk up and down the
assembly room with a lady on each arm ; otto of
roses emanating as spontaneously from his person as
sentimentality from his brain.
Harry Hal worth was seated in the coffee-room of
an inn awaiting the arrival of his sister by the coach.
In due time the vehicle drew up, and was immedi-
ately surrounded, as usual, by a crowd of idlers, or
persons in expectation of their friends. When
Halworth appeared in the street, he was rather sur-
prised at seeing one of the officers standing with his
head through the coach window, and, as it appear-
ed, conversing with his sister. He turned out to
be the very man whom I have just been describing
to you, at that time a perfect stranger to Harry.
The latter, on coming nearer to the coach, heard
the officer accost his sister in a strain of the most
impertinent familiarity. — His blood rushed up in a
moment ! he held back a while to be fully assured
of the fellow's purpose, and heard Miss Halworth
desire him " to go about his business." —
" But, my love," said he, " my business is with
248 HENRY HALWORTH.
" First of all, Sir," said Harry, turning the dash-
ing captain from the door of the coach by his collar
— " first of all, Sir, you'll settle matters with me.
I am a fitter person for your insult than that lady,
for I can resent it."
"D n it," said the warrior, "here's a
fa-e-llow ! And pray, Sir, who the devil are
"One, who may prove a very devil, indeed, if
you don't instantly take yourself off. Come, Sir,
march ! or I'll so soil your finery in that gutter,
that your comrades won't know you again."
" I am a soldier — and — "
u So, I suppose, by your livery ," said Harry,
" though, from your manners, I very much ques-
tion your right to the title."
" You are an impertinent scoundrel, I think,"
said the man-o'-war ; " and, I trust, you do not
imagine that I shall put up with your insolence."
" You'd better" said Harry ; " it will be more
easy to put up with than my resentment."
"Your resentment !" exclaimed the other, fumb-
ling for his card case.
" Come, Sir," added Halworth, coolly, " take
yourself off, while your epaulettes are on your
HENRY HALW0RTH. 249
shoulders. A little reflection will, I am sure, con-
vince you that you have done nothing worthy of a
soldier by insulting a woman."
" It is not my way," said the son of Mars, <c to
argue the matter in the open streets. Here is my
card — you will be kind enough to favour me with
" I don't carry cards," said Harry, laughing ;
" but if you wish to know my name, and place of
abode, I'll tell you : my name is Henry Hal worth,
of Hal worth Hall, close by."
" I shall remember, Sir — here is my card ; and
you may shortly expect to hear from me."
Halworth took the card from him, and instantly
tearing it in pieces, threw the fragments into the
kennel. " We differ," said he, " in our mode of
" Then," replied the captain, " I have but one
" I guess at your intention," said Harry : " you
mean to post my name up as that of a coward.
Now, hark you, Sir. It is not in your power to
hurt my reputation either as a man of honour or
courage. I neither choose to subject myself to the
fallacies of military custom, nor do I think that by
doing so, I should give any proof of bravery. My
250 HENRY HAL WORTH.
life, Sir, is valuable to others, and certainly of too
much worth to be staked against your own. If I
have done you wrong, seek legal redress. For my
own part, I should as much object to trouble my-
self with a prosecution, as I now scorn to take ad-
vantage of that physical force which would enable
me to shake the very soul out of you ! But you
know that the weakness of your cause is equal to
your personal imbecility ."
" Sir," said the other, interrupting him, u we
shall meet again — or, at least — "
Halwortlfs patience was now exhausted. He
seized Sullivain by the collar, and thus concluded
" Know, then, Sir — the lady whom you have
insulted is my sister ! she and her mother look up
to me as to their only protector. You shall not
rob them of that protector, depend upon it. Any
communication from you will be treated with con-
tempt ; and, if you cast the slightest imputation upon
my courage, by G — d, Sir, I'll break every bone in
your skin !"
I have forborne to interrupt this altercation, by
mentioning its effect upon the crowd, who, of
course, unanimously sided with Halworth, and
heartily enjoyed the discomfiture of the captain.
HENBY HALW0RTH. 251
A loud burst of laughter followed the conclusion
of Harry's speech, and the officer quitted the scene
with as good a face as he well could do. Several
of his brethren, attracted by the noise, had joined
the crowd, but they could not penetrate it ; and I
am inclined to believe that they remain partially
ignorant of what occurred to this day. Never was
the triumph of a manly heart more complete than
in this instance. Poor Kate, having, in some de-
gree, recovered from the terrors which had over-
whelmed her during the uproar, was now conducted
by her brother into a post-chaise, and they were
driven off amid the cheering shouts of the popu-
Shortly after this event, the detachment left the
town ; and, for a time, nothing more transpired
concerning our military hero. At length, however,
he again became the subject of general conversa-
tion ; and, if his conduct in the affair with Hal-
worth had been insufficient to exhibit him in a true
light, his character was now fully developed. Some
months subsequent to his departure from ,
it was ascertained, beyond all doubt, that he had
for ever crushed the peace of a certain family in
the neighbourhood, by effecting the ruin of a very
beautiful girl, who, being unable to bear the re-
252 HENRY HAL WORTH.
proofs of her friends, and the general knowledge of
her dishonour, had quitted her home in secret, to
seek the arms of her lover in London. It is sup-
posed that a promise of marriage was among the
temptations employed to complete her downfall ;
but her seducer, though he received her in town,
never fulfilled the chief clause in his engagement,
and she was reduced to the necessity of becoming
his mistress. For a season they were to be seen
together in the parks and places of public amuse-
ment : but Sullivain, as might be expected, soon
became disgusted with his paramour, and deserted
her. Plunged in debt, he was anticipating the
horrors of incarceration, when a quarrel with a
brother officer elicited a challenge. The issue of
the combat was fatal to him ; and the unfortunate
victim of his falsehood, no longer able to rely for
support on those charms of person which misery
had faded, soon descended into the grave.
My companion having finished his narrative, I
was anxious to know what had become of the gal-
lant Hal worth.
" Let me first inform you,*" said he, " that, of
HENRY HALWORTH. 253
the fate of Miss Amelia Musgrave you are already
acquainted — Sullivain's mistress was none other
than she !"
" Good Heaven !" I exclaimed, " and Hal-
u Married ray sister/'
" I congratulate her. And Kate ?"
" You may congratulate me" said my com-
panion, " she is my wife."
ST. VALENTINE'S DAY.
To-morrow is St. Valentine's day.
O, beware, my lord, of jealousy.
ST. VALENTINE'S DAY.
I returned to the hospitable mansion of the
squire on the eve of St. Valentine, and received
from each member of his family the most flattering
welcome. Miss Emily's inamorato, who was
staying at the house, appeared in much better
spirits than when he last parted from me in the
coach. In fact, there was every reason for the
change, since the doubts which then agitated his
mind had now given place to certainty. He had
in the interim declared his passion, and received
assurances that the attachment was mutual.
It was the custom of the gentry about this
neighbourhood occasionally to get up a small as-
sembly in the town hall of the adjacent borough,
258 st. valentine's day.
and St. Valentine's Day had been fixed upon for
their next meeting, so that I was no less fortunate
in the time of my second visit than I had been at
my first arrival. I found all the ladies of the
squire's family busily occupied in preparation
for " the gay to-morrow." Miss Emily was
exercising her best taste upon an additional
flounce or two, and diligently studying the most
becoming manner of wearing a wreath of artificial
flowers with which her admirer had that evening
On the following morning, as we were sitting at
breakfast, a letter arrived for Miss Wheatley.
The direction, written in a bold, undisguised hand,
was eyed with some degree of anxiety by Master
Alfred, whose uneasiness increased the more when
I suggested the probability of its being a Valen-
A Valentine it was : emblazoned, too, with every
fascinating device which the gilder and colourist
could supply. In the midst was a rose, which, on
being pulled up, discovered three hearts, two
united, but of these only one transfixed with Cupid's
arrow, while the third was to be seen in the
distance, copiously bleeding in solitude.
There was something so novel in all this, that
st. valentine's day. 259
the young lady regarded it with more attention
than she would have bestowed upon an ordinary
Valentine, though, of course, without any feeling
beyond that of mere curiosity ; but Master Alfred
(so exquisite is the sensibility of a lover) absolutely
turned pale on beholding it.
a Well," said the squire, laughing heartily at
the perplexity of the one, and the wretchedness of
the other, " what is it all about ? Come, Alfred,
read it, my boy.''
Alfred, however, declined. He seemed per-
fectly unable to enter into the merriment of the
affair, and had much difficulty in retaining his
fortitude while the squire perused these lines
" And hast thou giv'n thy heart to one
Who has no love to answer thine ?
And hast thou on another smiPd,
And for his vows neglected mine ?
Lift by the silken string this rose —
The emblem of thyself — and see
How thou hast misaUied thyself
And how thy fate has wounded me.
Thine is the bleeding heart united
To the other heart of stone ;
While the heart that loves thee truly,
Far away must bleed alone !
2(>0 st. valentine's day.
To-night at Arlington's assembly,
Where Thalia's vot'ries meet,
Thou shalt find a packet under
The north-western window seat.
Read the packet on the morrow ;
Let my rival read it too :
It may teach him never more with
Jealous fits to trouble you."
Here was a strange medley ; sufficiently absurd
to amuse every one but our fidgetty lover, who
looked forward to the evening with great and in-
The wished-for time at length arrived. On en-
tering the ball-room the lovers hastened to the
u north western window seat," and discovered the
mysterious packet. Alfred was about to leave the
room to examine it immediately.
" No," said his mistress, " it is directed to me in
particular, and I shall obey the mandate which
enjoins the perusal of its contents to-morrow."
" But consider my feelings," said the lover.
" I rather consider your folly," replied his mis-
tress. " Had you treated the whole affair with
that jocularity which it was no doubt the intention
of its author to excite, you might have done with
the packet as you pleased ; but, since you have
ST. valentine's day. 261
chosen to deem it a matter of importance, let every
thing be conducted with regularity. If such ridi-
culous trifles put you into a fever, what happiness
may we hereafter expect ? I shall now put the
packet into my reticule, and to-morrow at breakfast
we will examine its contents."
* But, my dearest Emily — "
" Nay," said she, " how can you love her whom
" I do not doubt you/' replied Alfred.
" Then why fear others ?" said the amiable girl.
At this moment the music struck up, and they
took their places for the dance.
Unquestionably " the lords of the creation,' *
while experiencing the various little vexations inci-
dental to courtship, cut but a very sorry figure ;
and it is a difficult matter to reconcile the dis-
parity between the sensitive and capricious lover,
always in the extremes of joy, jealousy, and humi-
liation, and the authoritative husband of after
years, smiling superciliously at the vanities of his
wife, and reproving with frowns the follies of his
children. These observations were suggested by
the appearance of Master Alfred, who looked any
thing but a hero upon the present occasion, and
wore an aspect wonderfully assimilating to that of
262 ST. valentine's day.
a drenched dunghill cock. Having once danced
with his mistress, he sat down for the remainder of
the ball to tantalize himself with groundless and
fear-fraught speculations. He keenly scrutinized
each gallant with whom she danced ; magnified the
common shows of courtesy into marked attentions ;
and successively discovered, by the most convincing
evidence, that each of her partners was the author
of the Valentine.
I was regarding the downcast lover with a
mixed feeling of pity and contempt, when I felt
a gentle tap on the shoulder, and, on turning
round, was equally surprised and delighted to
find myself once more in the company of — the
odd gentleman ! He had been induced to annul
his original intention of an immediate return home ;
and, as he never omitted any opportunity of giving
his support to the innocent gaieties of this life, he
had resolved to postpone his departure till the day
after the assembly.
f* And pray," said he, pointing to the drooping
Alfred, " who is yon man of melancholy ?"
His ignorance, however, was affected. Taking
me into the adjoining waiting room, he gave me
to understand — what the reader shall understand in
due time : for the present, I would beg his atten-
tion to other matter.
st. valentine's day. 263
The amusements were drawing towards a close.
Many of the company were gone, and the card
players had begun to descend into the ball-room.
A country dance was proposed ; but the odd gentle-
man having neglected to provide himself before-
hand with a partner, was fearful of being obliged
to sit out, when, lo ! who should make her appear-
ance in the ball-room, but the elderly spinster, our
travelling companion !
Under circumstances so peculiar, and, I may say,
ludicrous, this rencontre could not fail to entertain
me highly. The odd gentleman, though doubtless
much surprised, lost none of his apparent compo-
sure, and saluted the antiquated fair one with a bow
which might have done credit to Sir Charles Gran-
dison. It was returned by a gentle inclination of
the head, such as might have been expected from
the martial heroine of Tilbury Fort.
" Allow me, Madam/' said the odd gentle-
man, u to express my sincere hopes that your late
journey was unattended by inconvenience and
" Why, no. Sir," replied she, " considering all
things, I was extremely glad to get to my journey's
" At all events," continued the former, " I may
§64 ST. valentine's day.
conclude that you have by this time entirely reco-
vered, and shall venture to solicit the honour of
your hand for the country dance."
" Excuse me, Sir, my dancing days are over.""
" Then should mine be also, Madam."
" As you think, Sir," replied the lady.
" Convinced of its propriety," added he, " I
would rather abide by your opinion."
U Then, Sir, since we last parted you have alter-
ed materially.' 9
" And, I trust, Madam, for the better."
The lady was silent.
It was with great difficulty that the master of the
ceremonies prevailed upon her to accede to the so-
licitation of the odd gentleman. At length, how-
ever, she stood up, though much against her incli-
nation, and the dancing commenced.
O for the pencil of a Stephanoff ! The author of
" Poor Relations," who could so successfully depict
the contrast between suffering merit and pampered
pride, might certainly have here discovered a
subject scarcely less worthy of his notice.
Here was to be seen the joint personification of
frigid propriety and cheerful benevolence — the
difference between that virtue which had never
been subject to temptation, and the worth which
ST. valentine's day. 265
had outlived it — between the stiffness of un-
awakened humanity and the generosity of a feeling
and experienced heart. The odd gentleman exhi-
bited a grace in his movements which the younger
beaux had done well to emulate; while the acti-
vity which he displayed, was at once a convincing
proof that our " dancing days' 1 may extend beyond
the limits of youth. His partner, on the contrary,
moved along like a windmill en masse, with its
sails fixed. Her toes never once trespassed beyond
the pale of her petticoat, and her body retained its
perpendicular as truly as a plummet suspended in
a vacuum. It was evident that her " dancing
days'" had never had an existence ; and that the
spring of her life had been cloudy as its autumn
At the close of the ball, I parted finally with
the odd gentleman who had determined on leaving
the following morning, and rejoined the squire's
" Why, Alfred," said Mr. Wheatley, as we
rode homeward, " you are all in the dolefuls to-
" Have I not cause ?" said the youth.
" I think I have most," replied Emily, in a
266 st. valentine's day.
" Why, you seem to have been happy enough,"
said her lover.
" I might have been happier, Alfred, I assure
H Yes," he replied, u had I been absent "
The amiable girl scorned to answer an insinua-
tion so unmerited. In silence they reached home,
and in silence retired to their respective chambers.
" The usual way with us all," said Mr. Wheat-
ley: " amantium irce — the proverb is somewhat
Ere I bid " good night" to my reader, it were
as well that I should inform him of what the odd
gentleman had communicated, when, as may be
recollected, he took me aside from the ball-room.
" You know me," said he, u to be a queer
fellow, and will perhaps think I have been a little
too forward in meddling with the affairs of others.
I acknowledge it as my weakness to pry occasion-
ally into matters which no way concern me, and
have only to plead good intention as an excuse.
Now, Sir, I am informed that yon ' knight of the
woeful countenance' is desperately enamoured of
Miss Wheatley, who is again enamoured of him —
that he is a young man of sense, principle, and
feeling; but too apt to make both himself and
st. valentine's day. 267
mistress unhappy, by suffering appearances to
imply more than assurances can contradict. I
like to plague these captious gentlemen a little,
and thence my motive for sending a Valentine to
the fair Miss Emily. The packet alluded to con-
tains the narrative of a few facts — not precisely
applying to the love-match in question, but suit-
able, nevertheless — and the perusal of it may do
them both a service."
Our party having assembled at the breakfast
table next morning, Miss Wheatley opened the
packet, and a loose strip of paper, containing the
following exordium, was the first object of notice.
" Ye, who listen with tenderness to the whisper-
ings of love, and hasten with eagerness to the altar
of Hymen ; beware how appearances induce you to
mistrust ; nor accuse your lovers of being faithless,
till you have proved their infidelity."
Within a second envelope was a fair manuscript,
of which the following tale is a correct copy.
"All's well that ends well."
Few people, I trust, would incur the imputa-
tion of being so insensible to the charms of the pic-
turesque, as to remain for any length of time in the
neighbourhood of Chepstow, without paying a visit
to Tintern Abbey. Both the ruin itself, and the
beautiful scene in which it lies imbosomed, are,
perhaps, unequalled in their kind ; and were it my
present object to paint a picture, instead of to tell a
tale, I should be unable to find a subject more pleas-
ingly diversified than the one in question. But
the associations connected with this venerable re-
main, are such as would render it in teresting to
me, though its individual claims to notice were
comparatively weak : for, it was while rambling
among its roofless and ivy-grown recesses, that I
became acquainted with three among the most esti-
mable of the human species.
Some people object to dine alone : — I can't say-
that I do. I have, however, a decided aversion to
feast in solitude on the beauties of Nature ; and,
like Sterne, cannot thoroughly enjoy a charming
prospect, without some one to whom I may impart
the pleasure it affords. There was consequently
every reason for self-congratulation, when I receiv-
ed the polite salutation of an individual, who by his
dress appeared to be a clergyman, and whose con-
versation bore ample testimony to the intelligence
of his mind. Having explored the various parts of
the abbey, and conversed a while upon the history
of its foundation and subsequent fate, my companion
changed the subject of our discourse, by pointing
to a fallen capital in the area of the north transept :
u That stone," said he, " is a memorial of inte-
rest. You are most probably ignorant of the little
romantic history connected with it ?"
" As you have excited my curiosity," I replied,
" I hope you will now gratify it."
" Most willingly," he answered.
Never was a story of romance delivered under
circumstances more favourable. The mildness of
the evening, the beauty of the scene, and the elo-
quence of the relater, were all in unison ; and I
only regret that my reader must receive the nar-
rative under such comparative disadvantages.
It was on a fine summer morning, (said my
companion,) about three years back, that I paid
. my first visit to these ruins, having just before been
appointed to the rectorship of a village hard by.
As I advanced towards the ruined choir, I perceiv-
ed a young man seated on the stone to which I have
already called your attention. He was dressed in
black, and appeared to be about the age of two-
and-twenty, while his pale and care-worn face be-
tokened him a child of misery. It was natural I
should suppose him a mourner for the dead — yet
there was no crape upon his hat to denote the loss
of any near alliance, and my surmises began to
lean towards disappointed love. I walked by him
once or twice ; but could perceive no indication of
his being inclined to communicate with me ; and,
though my curiosity was great, my sense of deli-
On leaving the abbey I inquired concerning him
at a neighbouring cottage, and learned that he had
been in the vicinity upwards of a twelvemonth.
When he first came, there was a gloominess in his
manner, and an apparent backwardness to allow of
the advances of intimacy, which gave rise to much
speculation among the inhabitants : —
" Some deem'd him wondrous wise, and some believ'd him mad."
He was continually to be seen walking by the side
of the river Wye, either absorbed in thought, or
attentively perusing a book. Sometimes he would
stop and gaze on the children as they were at play,
conversing occasionally with the younger ones, and
making them little presents. The first person with
whom he became in any way intimate, was a neigh-
bouring farmer, whose youngest boy, being a child
of unusual intelligence, had, as I conceive, at-
tracted the stranger's attention by the precocity
of his remarks. The little fellow came running
home one day, with a nicely bound copy of John-
son's Rasselas, which, he said, the ' strange gentle-
man' had given him. On the following morning
the father met him by accident, and ventured to
thank him for his kindness to the child. He replied
with much courtesy, and the farmer frequently con-
versed with him afterwards, though without elicit-
ing anything of his history."
An advance having been thus made by one of
GORDON. v 275
the villagers, others would occasionally venture to
address him. By this means a sort of qualified in-
timacy became generally established, though it was
remarked that he always seemed particularly care-
ful not to encourage any familiarity on the part of
his landlord, and the people where he lodged.
In the course of time I managed to introduce
myself; and, by slow degrees, winning upon his
confidence, at length obtained from him the his-
tory of his griefs.
He gave his name as George Cunningham. At
a very early age, it appears, he became an orphan,
inheriting an income of something more than a
hundred a year, together with an independence of
spirit, which rendered him a very unfrequent guest
in the mansions of his several wealthy relatives.
He soon discovered himself to be a young man of
refined intellect, and much intensity of feeling;
and, while the former subjected him to the sneers
of the envious, his sensibility little qualified him for
the endurance of repartee.
" The man renown'd for repartee,
Will seldom scruple to make free
With friendship's finest feeling-
Will thrust a dagger at your breast,
And tell you c 'twas a special jest'
By way of balm for healing."
Too early accustomed, perhaps, to think for him-
self, he acquired a singularity of opinion, as well as
habit, highly displeasing to his common-place ac-
quaintance. He had, in short, a few original
notions, and uttered them boldly ; drawing upon
himself the heaviest accusations of pride and arro-
gance, and, in some measure, courting the charge
Of course, it was not to be expected that so
susceptible a heart would long remain unmoved by
the fascinations of beauty : though he was some
time ere he met with a mistress answering the
beau-ideal of. his mind. His imagination had fur-
nished him with a highly-coloured portrait, and it
was not fe till he met with Miss Caroline Sterling,
that Fancy acknowledged the superiority of Truth.
Here, then, he found a supposed realization of his
airy dreams. Those affections which had been, as it
were, increasing in his breast till it would permit
no further accumulation, now burst forth in all
their plenitude; and Cunningham, who had so
long suffered under the ribaldry of the unfeeling,
was now happy in the possession of a beloved
There was only one bar to his joy — the necessity
of being secret. With the family of his mistress
he was no favourite. His intellectual merits were
not likely to be appreciated by Mr, Sterling, who
was an extremely illiterate man, while his devoted
attachment to money would, of course, prove an
additional obstacle to a poor lover's suit. Ob-
stacles, however, in matters of the heart, may be
almost termed inducements, every new difficulty
giving a fresh impetus to determination
But the happiness of my hero was of short dura-
tion. The fervour of his passion was too great to
allow of the concealment which policy required,
and Mr. Sterling began to suspect the existence of
some attachment. His apprehensions aroused,
there was but little chance of escaping his watchful-
ness, and the interception of a letter brought the
whole affair to light. It was directed to his
daughter in the hand- writing of Cunningham, and
the enraged parent, on breaking the seal, disco-
vered, to his astonishment, that an attachment was
not only commenced, but an engagement formed.
Amiable under no circumstances, he violated every
decency when inflamed with anger, and disho-
noured the sensitive Cunningham with a blow !
The latter was, of course, forbid the house ; but
the mere act of denying him all access to his mistress
was deemed a very inadequate stretch of severity,
and the honesty of his intentions towards the lady was
even called into question. Miss Sterling was sent
from home for the effectual prevention of any com-
munication with her lover; and it was shortly
reported that her heart was not only weaned from
the passion which had so lately engrossed it ; but
that she had become fully convinced of the danger
she had escaped, and was thankful for her deli-
The wretchedness of Cunningham may be con-
ceived. Malice contrived to support her proceed-
ings with so much corroborative ingenuity, that he
was left to ruminate on the too great likelihood of
an alteration in Caroline's feelings.
At length her approaching marriage with a
young man, who had long been her suitor, was
noised abroad ; and the intelligence fell on the ears
of the wretched Cunningham like a withering blast !
" Perplexed in the extreme," he remained for a
while writhing under the triumphant sneers of
gratified envy, occasionally seeking for a solitary
hope in the possibility of false report. Never had
his mistress evinced a greater ardour of attachment
than when he last saw her ; and, as he wept over
the locket that she had given him just before their
separation, he could not but entertain some faint
surmise that she had been, with himself, the sub-
ject of cruel misrepresentation. By this shadow
of a hope he enabled himself to await some further
intelligence concerning the truth of what had been
reported ; nor was it till six weeks after the day
of their parting that he resigned himself to misery.
His fate, however, as he had every reason to con-
ceive, was now decided by the following brief com-
munication which he received from the hands of
Mr. Sterling's servant. The superscription, he ob-
served, was in the hand-writing of her impenetrable
sire ; but the more important part had been too
truly penned by Caroline.
" It will be useless to inquire my reasons for
peremptorily refusing (as I hereby do) to permit a
continuation of your addresses. Any further im-
portunity will be considered as insulting.
" Caroline Sterling/'
The poor fellow was stupified. Thrice he read
the letter, and as often had to await the recovery
of his stunned senses.
" Gracious Heaven," said he, " wherefore this
wanton cruelty ? ,?
(The narrator here paused, and the tears gushed
into his eyes. " I am always affected, Sir," said he,
" when I think upon the peculiar tone in which
Cunningham repeated those words. It was the
climax of agony depicted. He sat for several
moments, with his clenched hands upon his knees,
and seemed to be enduring such a struggle with
wretchedness, that I almost feared to permit his
continuation of the narrative. ' It is almost con-
cluded,' said he, panting for the recovery of his
composure — ' I never related it till now, and shall
never attempt it again P")
Fully assured of the identity of this letter, he
had no longer any doubt of the writer's baseness ;
and recovering in some degree from the violence of
the first shock, he took the earliest means of flying
from the scene of his blighted happiness. Restor-
ing to Miss Sterling the several letters and little
presents which he had received from her at various
times, he implored for her the pardon of heaven,
and bade adieu to the scene of her falsehood for ever.
Chance brought him here, where he determined
on spending the remainder of his days as became
a christian ; and he was never heard to repine,
although the silent workings of memory were evi-
dently effecting his gradual dissolution.
Never shall I forget my feelings when he parted
from me at the conclusion of his melancholy tale.
u A little while," thought I, " and his cheek will
be cold as it is pale — the grave will close over his
wretchedness, and I alone shall retain the memory
of his wrongs V 9
Of course, having entrusted me with his confi-
dence, our intimacy soon ripened into friendship ;
I gradually introduced him to my congregation,
and he became the village favourite — not a lively
member of our little community, but a deservedly
respected one: daily proving his claims to the
gratitude of the poor, and the solicitude of the more
These ruins became his favourite resort; nor
can we wonder at his preference for a scene, the
character of w T hich was so much in unison with the
state of his own mind.
It was several months after our first acquaint-
ance that I met him on this very spot, looking, as
I conceived, more wretched than usual. As we
paced together up and down the nave, the sky
became suddenly overcast with every appearance
of a forthcoming storm ; and hastily directing our
steps towards the village, we arrived at a small inn
on the road side, just time enough to escape one of
the most tremendous tempests I have ever witnessed.
The rain fell in torrents. The thunder roared in
loud and lengthened peals, and vivid flashes of
forked lightning followed each other in quick and
" It is an ill wind," says the proverb, " that
blows nobody any good ;" but George Cunning-
ham little calculated upon the full extent of the
benefit which his fate had ordained as the conse-
quence of this storm : —
" If after every tempest come such calms,
May the winds blow till they have waken'd death !"
We had scarcely entered the parlour of the inn,
when a horseman gallopped into the adjoining yard,
and tying his panting steed to a cross bar in the
shed, entered the house, called for refreshments,
and joined Cunningham and myself in the par-
lour. My companion regarded him for a mo-
ment, as if not unacquainted with his features, and
the stranger, mistaking his expression of curiosity
for one of social inclination, immediately entered
After a few common-place remarks, Merton (for
such was the stranger's name) made an allusion
to Lord Byron, whose lamentable death was just
then the theme of general conversation. This led
to a discussion on the writings of that illustrious
individual, in which Cunningham displayed an
enthusiasm of mind and fervour of manner, form-
ing a striking contrast to the coolness and suavity
which marked his ordinary discourse; while Merton,
whose opinions upon the subject were directly
opposed to those of my companion, argued, in his
turn, somewhat warmly; strongly contesting the
immoral tendency of writings he had never read,
or could not understand ; and boldly asserting, as
unquestionable fact, every thing which the calum-
nies of the envious, and the ignorance of the pre-
judiced, had brought forward in the depreciation of
a man, perhaps, " more sinned against than sin-
ning," — "Nay, more," said Merton, "I can quote
at least, one case in support of what I have ad-
vanced. I know something of a disciple of the
Byron school, who has most effectually succeeded
in bringing a highly respectable family into a state
of wretchedness ; and has either retired from the
world, or immersed himself in its debaucheries,
because he failed in his attempt to seduce an amia-
ble and lovely girl, whose affections, I presume, he
obtained, by an artful appliance of those cursed
fascinations, which are so frequently to be found in
the strains of these poetical reptiles. She, poor
girl, was persuaded of her error too late ; for,
though she must have been ultimately convinced of
his baseness, she was unable to extricate her affec-
tions from one, whom she abhorred as an atheist,
while she loved him as a man ! Yes, Sir ; the
fellow was an atheist ! made up of pride, indolence,
and my Lord Byron's poetry. No sooner were his
clandestine proceedings discovered by the father of
the young lady, than he at once proclaimed the base-
ness of his intentions, by the skulking meanness of
his conduct. He flew from the village, and deserted
her. Without explanation, he sent back all her let-
ters, and tokens of affection, and, in short, broke
her heart ! Perhaps, he is now wandering about
the world to cheat the understandings of the weak
and sensitive, by persuading them that he is the
ruin of a once fine and noble minded creature, who
was born with a love for his species, and a natural
desire to promote its good : but, finding that the
c world never loved him,' and that his fellow-
creatures thought him — if not a fool — something
infinitely worse, he has very magnanimously be-
come a hater of men, making drinking cups of their
skulls, and courting the friendship of Newfound-
u 1 am too much interested," said Cunningham,
with impatient anxiety, "in the behalf of the
young lady, to attend to your sneers at the noble
poet in question : they may, or may not, be just ;
— but, pray, Sir (his voice faltered as he put the
question), does she still live ?"
u She lingers, Sir,'' replied Merton.
u Did you ever hear the name of the — villain ?"
" O, yes — and was once, I believe, in his com-
pany, although I have no recollection of his per-
son. When we wish to sum up every thing that
is opprobrious, in one word, we pronounce the
name of Gordon i"
This was the first time of my being acquainted
with the real sirname of my companion ; but my
surprise bore no comparison with the astonishment
of Merton, when he encountered the following
"Liar ! — restrain the torrent of your cruel and
unmerited abuse. In me behold the object of your
Merton was a man of more passion than spirit,
and rather weak than unamiable. He knew that
he had grounded his opinion on report, and that
in expressing it, he had been influenced by one
of his strongest prejudices. Though scarcely a
time for levity, it was impossible to behold the
sudden change in Merton's manner and counte-
nance, without an inclination to smile. He re-
mained, at first, wholly confounded ; his censorial
dignity having been completely crushed beneath
the sudden proclamation of Gordon's identity ;
and, while the latter paced up and down the room
with angry strides, he sat with open mouth, and
fixed eyes, like a man just thrown with all his per-
ceptive qualities into a new world.
At length, when he attempted to speak, it was
in so confused a manner, that Gordon really felt
for and relieved him.
" You are somewhat embarrassed, Mr. Merton,
and well you may be : but I do not scorn to ame-
liorate my character — even in your eyes ; and if
you will condescend to examine both sides of a
question which you have decided upon too prema-
turely, you may, perhaps, be induced to think
better of me."
After a short pause, he resumed : —
" We have both been wrong. You treated me
with undue severity ; but I have returned it in full,
and hope you will overlook what has just passed."
Here Merton stammered out something like an
apology — quoted his authorities for those sup-
positions, which he was happy to find had proved
erroneous, and gradually resumed his self-possession.
" You are probably ignorant," said Gordon,
" that I have at this moment in my possession a
letter from Miss Stirling, in which I am denied
all farther communication with her, and even re-
fuse an explanation ?"
Merton was surprised. 6C The question,'' said
he, " has been repeatedly put to her ; and she has
as often answered on her oath, that she never ex-
pressed, either by word or letter, any decrease of
her affection for you."
Gordon in his turn was astonished.
" Ah V- said Merton, musing, " I now recollect,
though indistinctly, some circumstances connected
with a letter which she had intended should be
privately conveyed to a young man who had long
been her unsuccessful suitor, but which never came
to his hands."
w Why," said Gordon, u it was even reported
that she was about to unite herself in marriage with
the individual of whom you speak."
" Aye, Sir — it was reported, and very generally
believed. It was her father's determined intention
that she should marry him ; and he died without
retracting the command."
" He is dead, then P exclaimed Gordon ; " God
forgive him ! I see the entire state of the case !"
Nor was he wrong in divining the mystery. It
may be remembered that the letter he received was
directed, not by his mistress, but in the hand-writ-
ing of her father. Here, then, at one view, he saw
the whole range of heedless misconceptions which
had nearly broken the heart-strings of Caroline and
himself. He questioned Merton with impatient
rapidity, and invariably received answers confirm-
ing the truth of his suppositions. Merton also could
now r look upon matters in a different light ; and,
aware that he had been precipitate, was anxious to
make amends. Stating his intention of remaining
at the inn for the night, he retired with Gordon to
his lodgings, and the following deduction arose from
their conference : —
Caroline had never for a moment harboured an
evil wish against her deeply attached lover ; much
less had she been the conscious cause of his unhap-
piness. The letter he had received was intended for
his unsuccessful rival ; and it was evident that the
father, in a moment of wrath at his daughter's in-
flexibility of purpose, had directed it to Cunning-
ham. Hence, it was clear that George had been
labouring under a false conviction of his mis-
tress' infidelity, while her happiness had been
blighted by his supposed neglect.
The effect of this discovery upon my hero was
overwhelming. Hope, fear, and self-reproach, com-
batted for precedency in his bosom ; while Merton,
hitherto among the ranks of his enemies, was now
looked up to as his most available friend. The latter
offered again and again every assistance in his
power, revisited Gordon on the following morning,
and promised immediately to interest himself in a
negociation between the parties. " I doubt not,"
said he, " that all will yet be well. At any rate,
you shall receive a letter from me in a day or two ;
and, in the mean time, I pray you keep up your
spirits." Gordon grasped him warmly by the
hand, while tears of joy suffused his eyes. " You
have indeed mistaken me," said he. " Aid me then,
I beseech you, with your best exertions. If they
succeed, my heartfelt gratitude will be yours, dur-
ing the remainder of a life, which I feel would be
prolonged under such felicitous circumstances. If
they fail, I shall not long remain to bear the disap-
pointment, and will thank you for your charitable
intentions, with my dying breath."
Dreadful was the interval betwixt the time of
Merton's departure and the arrival of his promised
communication. Immeasurable bliss or insupport-
able misery awaited the bewildered Gordon. Now,
fancy would picture all the joys of a restoration;
and now all the more probable miseries of disap-
pointment. Perhaps he might see her on her
death-bed ! It would be some consolation to hear
her parting breath dwell upon his name. " Then,"
said he, " I shall soon follow her, and we may find
a recompense for our earthly woes by a union in
Two miserable days, and sleepless nights, passed
on, and the state of Gordon's mind was such as to
alarm all around him. On the morning of the
third day a letter arrived. The superscription was
Merton's. With a tremulous hand he broke the
seal, and found two letters within the enclosure.
Merton's, which alone was directed, ran thus : —
" Injured Sir,
" I hope I have in some measure redeemed my-
self in your opinion* Be as collected as possible, I
conjure you. Open the accompanying letter, and
believe it genuine. I shall be with you in the
course of the day.
" Yours, &c.
" Wm. Merton."
He opened the precious communication, and the
following presented itself to his ravished sight : —
" O, my dearest George, how much have we been
deceived ! Be assured your poor Caroline is per-
fectly innocent, where you have had too much rea-
son to suppose her guilty. I have loved — lamented
— any thing but wronged you ; and I trust you will
now give that full credit to my fidelity, which I do
to yours. I was dying, but now look forward to
life — to the joy of being once more lodged in the
arms of him, under whose supposed defection, I
have been gradually sinking to the grave.
H I can write no more at present, being exces-
sively weak and agitated. I am innocent, my
dear George — indeed I am. God bless you !
w Your Cakoline."
I need not say how often he perused this letter —
nor that he kissed it again and again, " as if it had
been the hand which penned it."
Merton arrived according to his promise, and
poured the balm of comfort into Gordon's ear by
every word he uttered. Every precaution had
been taken to prevent the too violent effect of
extreme joy upon a frame which excessive grief
had almost ruined. The medical men had recom-
mended change of air as a last resource; and
Merton found but little persuasion necessary to
make Caroline's mother fix upon South Wales as
the point of destination, the union of the lovers
being no longer a matter of prudence, but of posi-
" They will be here, therefore," said Merton,
11 in a few days ; and all you have to do is to pre-
serve your mental composure till the end of the
week, when you may expect to see them.'"
The evening previous to the day appointed for
the meeting had arrived, and Gordon was revelling
in joyful anticipation of the morrow, when Merton
unexpectedly broke in upon his meditations : —
" They are come," said he, " somewhat sooner
than I expected."
" Good God !" exclaimed Gordon, u is she
K< Gently, young man," added the cautious
Merton : 4C prepare to accompany me, and promise
to be calm. She does not expect you till to-
On arriving at the house which Merton had
provided for the accommodation of Mrs. Sterling
and her daughter, they were met in the hall by a
young woman, who requested them to ascend the
staircase as quietly as possible, for that Miss Ster-
ling had, for the first time during the last two
days, fallen asleep. Fatigue from travelling had
at length promoted repose, and she was now on
the sofa in the drawing-room above.
The trembling lover was introduced to her as
she slept ! He advanced with breathless emotion
towards the sofa, but paused ere he reached it, as
if hesitating to break too abruptly through " the
divinity which hedg'd her in." Heaving a long-
drawn sigh, he stood for a few seconds regarding
the wasted form of his beloved girl, and was cut to
the heart to think that he should have been even
the unintentional cause of her suffering.
He approached still nearer — she moved ! His
breath was suspended — but she became again com-
posed, and he seemed relieved.
Sitting down at the head of the sofa, he gently
took her hand within his own, and refraining to
indulge in any closer endearment,
" With looks of cordial love
Hung over her enamour' d."
Suddenly she became restless, and muttered some-
thing indistinctly. He fancied she had pro-
nounced his name.
" I shall now be unhappy no longer — I am
the wife of Gordon ;" said the affectionate girl,
as she lay unconsciously beneath the fond gaze of
Unable to restrain his feelings any longer, he
entwined her in his embrace, and she awoke with
the pressure. His altered appearance evidently
shocked her. Incapable of utterance, she fainted
on first seeing him, but soon recovered ; and, laying
her head upon his bosom, relieved the agony of her
joy by a flood of tears.
The rector had arrived at this point of his story
when the moving bolts of the Abbey door an-
nounced the approach of some visitors. I had be-
come too much interested in the narrative not to
feel the annoyance of any interruption, and was so
far unmindful of being in the presence of a clergy,
manias to vent my anger in an oath.
" Nay," said he, " you may consider the nar-
rative as finished.'"
"JBut, were they married?" I anxiously in-
He had barely time to reply in the affirmative,
when a lady and gentleman of youthful and pre-
possessing appearance entered the Abbey, and ad-
vanced toward us. Health and happiness were
depicted in their countenances : —
" Allow me," said the rector, " to introduce
" Me. and Mils. Gordon."
THE PAINTER'S ACCOUNT
"—And one man in his time plays many parts."
PAINTER'S ACCOUNT OF HIMSELF.
It was with unfeigned regret that I, at length,
bade adieu to the hospitable squire and his family;
intending, without further delay, to proceed on
my journey to London. Instead of taking coach
at the neighbouring town, it was thought more
advisable for me to proceed by the cross road to
the inn, where, as the reader may recollect, I was
on a former occasion so sorely beset with phantoms
grim and horrible in the painter's apartment.
Never, surely, had a two months' trip been more
pregnant with incident and matter for narrative :
neither were my adventures yet at an end, for, on
reaching the inn, where I had to await the arrival
of the mail, I was immediately introduced by the
landlord to the author of the picture, which had con-
tributed so materially to the disturbance of my rest*
300 the painter's
The painter saluted me with much courtesy,
apologising for the terrific influence which he had
imparted to his canvass, and assuring me, that,
" however his works might be formidable to those
whose digestive organs were impaired, the work-
man himself was by no means to be dreaded/'
This it was easy to believe. Candour and good-
humour were depicted in his countenance ; and I
no sooner beheld him than I wished for his ac-
quaintance. " Notwithstanding the nocturnal
troubles," said I, " which your picture occasioned,
it pleased me exceedingly ; and I have since often
coveted an opportunity *of becoming more familiar
with the produce of your talents."
" Sir," said he, " I am proud of your appro-
bation, and only regret that you should now have
paid us so flying a visit ; since I have several pic-
tures on hand, and a tolerably rich portfolio ; and,
had your leisure permitted, I should have been
most happy in submitting them to your inspec-
Regretting in turn my " positive inability"
to stop, the coach drove up ; and, shaking hands
with the painter, I was about to enter the vehicle,
when " mine host of the garter" very politely inti-
mated, that I had better make up my mind to try
ACCOUNT OF HIMSELF. 301
another encounter with the ghosts, for that the
coach was full.
It is surprising how peremptory obligations are
frequently annulled, only by the removal of some
ordinary opportunity. There being no room in
the coach, I felt no longer any reluctance to put
up with a room in the inn ; and, returning to the
painter, I could scarcely do less than observe, that,
although the obligation to go immediately to Lon-
don had been the more urgent, the obligation to
stay in his company was by far the more agreeable.
The coach went off* without me, and I ordered a
bed for the night.
I soon discovered that my companion was an en-
thusiast : fanciful, thoughtless, and benevolent.
He had at one time been affected by a theatrical
mania ; at another by the madness of poetry ; but,
unlike men of feeling in general, had never been
prone to despondency. He was now earnestly de-
voted to the pictorial art : it had been always a
favourite pursuit ; and during the latter part of
his life he had studied it exclusively. Fuseli had
been his chief model ; but, while he admired the
poetical vigour and anatomical knowledge of his
favourite, he considered him as occasionally extra-
vagant, and always too angular.
302 THE PAINTER'S
As we sate at our wine after dinner, he gave me
a sketch of his life.
My father (said he) was a Liverpool merchant,
who, partly to gratify his passion, and partly to
increase his capital, had married the well endowed
sister of a wealthy tea merchant in London. Being
a younger son, I was not brought up in my father's
business, but placed in the counting-house of my
uncle, where, during a stay of two years, I ren-
dered myself deeply conversant with Shakspeare
and the novelists, and, as you may readily sup-
pose, learnt nothing of my business. My fellow
labourers in the Bohea mart, on the contrary,
studied little else than the substantial philosophy
of day-book and ledger. They looked upon me
with contempt, and I regarded them as beneath it.
Occasionally, indeed, I condescended to argue with
them upon the subject, but found them all as incor-
rigible as cannisters. In vain I represented to
them that tea, no less than poetry, was among the
useless or at least unnecessary commodities of life ;
and that if the latter effeminized the mind, the
other only tended to enervate the body. The
blockheads, Sir, could not understand me : they
still maintained the worth of the plant, as they
would have done the importance of poetry —
ACCOUNT OF HIMSELF. 803
if it could have been sold at eight shillings a
I was about to commence the third year of my
apprenticeship, when my grandfather, from whom
I appeared to have inherited my poetical propen-
sities, bequeathed me on his death-bed an annuity
of sixty pounds a-year. This, perhaps, was one
of the most unfortunate circumstances that ever
happened to me. But for this legacy, it is possible
I might have been eventually weaned from those
follies which engrossed my youth, and by this
time established as a partner in the firm ; for my
uncle's liberality was greater than is usual with
men of business; and he forbore to check with
violence what he conceived might gradually decline.
All hopes of my amendment, however^ were now
resigned. No sooner was I sensible of my inde-
pendence than I laughed at my uncle, and lam-
pooned his clerks. The latter bore my insults with
politic forbearance, but the former very justly
turned me out of his house — " Go," said he, " for
a good for nothing vagabond as thou art l"
For about two months I enjoyed the otium cum
dtgnitate of a retired gentleman, in the vicinity of
Pentonville; but I very shortly discovered that
the dignitas was incompatible with sixty pounds
304 the painter's
a-year, and resolved on such an application of my
talents, as might not only enrich but also signalize
me. I had frequently attended the theatre as a
spectator, and now entertained notions of figuring
upon the stage myself: nor must you suppose that
my object was simply to please the publie, but to
shew them that they had been hitherto gratified
by performances of the most faulty description.
Cooke I acknowledged had some good points;
Kemble shone occasionally in a few characters;
but the audiences of Drury Lane and Covent
Garden were yet to witness the full development
of Shakspeare's glory.
I conceived it politic, however, to make a first
essay on some minor stage ; and waited upon the
manager of the West London Theatre with an
offer to play Macbeth for him.
6C To play Macbeth for me!" exclaimed the
Thespian ruler, " for me ! I thank ye heartily :
but beg ye to understand that I can play the cha-
racter myself; and even were I disinclined to
assume the cap and tartan plaid, there be several
who would be prompt to fill the vacancy: we are
in no want of Macbeths here, I assure ye !"
Now, Sir, this was quite new to me. My fancy
had never even suggested the probability of such
ACCOUNT OF HIMSELF. 305
a reply ; nor can I say whether surprise or morti-
fication was the feeling predominating within me.
u Pray, Sir," said the manager, " may I ask
whether you be professional, or an amateur ?"
" Can that," said I, " affect my ability to per-
form the part ?"
" Why, no, Sir," he replied ; " but it mate-
rially affects the terms on which you play."
" How so?"
" Simply thus," said the manager, with a smile :
" if you be professional, I may probably have to
pay you five pounds a week : if you be an amateur,
you will have to pay me ten pounds a night."
To be brief — I paid the money; played the
character after my own fashion ; and the audience
treated me after theirs, which was none of the
gentlest. Unquestionably they were agreed as to
the originality of the performance, and, as I opine,
equally unanimous on the subject of its merits.
On rushing from the murder of Duncan I nearly
overthrew Lady Macbeth, and created much mirth
in the banquet scene by letting the golden chalice
fall upon the toes of Banquo's ghost. Forgetting
my part on one occasion, the prompter remained
unable to assist me from laughter, and a wag in the
gallery was induced to comment on the rt beauty
306 the painter's
of my pauses." Ere I fell by the sword of Macduff
my fate was proclaimed : — c Lay on ,' said I, ' and
damrHd be he who first cries hold, enough! — " You're
damn'd already," exclaimed the wag aforesaid : and
thus ended my theatrical career.
I need scarcely inform you that my dramatic
attempt was kept a profound secret at the time ;
for the few remaining claims which I held upon
my fati^rs indulgence would have been instantly
annulled had it come to his knowledge. In the
course of a few months after my separation from
the tea company, I ventured to pay him a visit,
and though he received me at first rather coolly,
he subsequently acknowledged the warmth of pa-
rental affection, and condescended to ask me " what
were my future plans?"
" Father," said I, with a decision that seemed
to please him, " I wish to be a painter."
" A house-painter ?" said he, " or a landscape
u An historical painter," said I, with emphasis.
" Then, Sir," he remarked, " you would not,
I presume, condescend to be a Sir Thomas Law-
" His paintings," I replied, " are more than
mere portraits — they are pictures."
ACCOUNT OF HIMSELF. 601
" Then, Sir," concluded he, " I wish you would
become a picture painter !"
In short, my father added forty pounds annually
to my income, and I entered the Royal Academy
as a student. My progress was rapid; my per-
formances received with favour by the critics ; and,
in the end, I obtained the medal, with the necessary
allowance for a three years sojourn in Italy. Taking
an affectionate leave of my parents, I waited upon
my uncle with an humble apology for my late un-
dutiful conduct, snapped my fingers at his clerks,
and embarked for the continent.
After a reasonable stay at Paris, Genoa, and
Florence, I proceeded on my way to the " eternal
city," where painting and sculpture still hold their
principal courts. Sated with the riches of the
several galleries, public and private, where martyr-
doms and holy families prevail even to nausea, I
sought for subjects of novelty among the moun-
tains which border the Campagnia, and became
enamoured of rocks, cascades, and banditti. Such
were the themes which now engrossed my pencil,
and I was shortly fired with an emulative spirit
which threatened subversion to the fame of Salvator
In the course of time, however, circumstances
308 THE painter's
tended to give my mind a new turn. One of my
brother artists introduced me into an Italian family,
among whom was a pretty brunette, with a fine full
figure and large black eyes. I could never fancy,
Sir, your little English delicacies — but your looks
inform me that I shall offend you by dilation on
that point — therefore, without any odious com-
parisons, I shall merely state, that the lady in
question at once captivated my heart, and in
every picture that I painted was to be found some
intimation of the ruling passion.
Prompted by my feelings to make an instant
proposal of marriage, I could not but hesitate when
I considered my circumstances, the certainty of
incurring the ridicule of my fellow-students, and
the displeasure of my father. As to any thing
but an honourable alliance, it had never entered my
mind. The lady was of good family, and no less
reputed for respectability than for loveliness. Had
she received my addresses with indifference, I could
then have done as prudence directed ; but she had
evinced her affection, as I conceived, beyond all
doubt, and I had no alternative but to love.
As I was wandering one evening in musing
melancholy mood towards the abode of my fair one,
I heard a noise as of two men violently quarrelling ;
ACCOUNT OF HIMSELF. 309
and, on approaching nearer to the scene of disturb-
ance, I could perceive them indistinctly through
the shrubs struggling for the possession of a knife.
It was immediately evident that the one had at-
tempted the life of the other : I rushed instantly
through the plantation, and, after some difficulty,
succeeded in separating the combatants and secur-
ing the weapon.
No sooner had they recovered from the increased
agitation which my unexpected interference had
occasioned, than they appeared to lose all sense of
animosity, and to be influenced alone by feelings
of astonishment. They first regarded me, then
looked at each other; and afterwards wondered,
" by the body of Bacchus," how I should have
become acquainted with the circumstances.
" With what circumstances ?" I asked. " Chance
brought me here just at the moment of your mur-
derous encounter ; but I know of nothing beyond
that, and have only to request, v said I, throwing
the knife into the Tiber, " that you will both go
peaceably home, and for the future, adopt a more
honourable method of settling your quarrels."
Although they were strangers to my recollection,
it appeared I was thoroughly known to them.
Finding, however, that I was unacquainted with
310 THE PAINTER^
the cause of their enmity, they seemed inclined to
favour my ignorance ; and, with thanks for my
interposition, they wished me a very good evening,
and severally departed.
On reaching the mansion of my fair one, I found
her suffering from an unusual depression of spirits;
and, being urged to explain the cause of her melan-
choly, she delicately hinted to me, after much hesi-
tation, that our intimacy were better discontinued,
for that it had already given rise to a very general
belief of our speedily approaching union. My
feelings were always quick ; and, being now
actuated by the sole desire of establishing her
comfort and my own honour, I unhesitatingly
solicited her hand, and left her to appoint the
nuptial day. — It was finally settled that we should
be united at the end of a fortnight.
Well, Sir, the time was fast approaching, and I
awaited it with a mixed feeling of desire and dread.
As I paced thoughtfully along the corso y two or
three evenings before the day of the intended cere-
mony, a man briefly accosted me, and, without
staying for a reply, bade me, as I valued my
honour, to leap the wall of the Signorina's garden,
and see what was going on in the little rotunda at
the bottom of the shrubbery. I had just time
ACCOUNT OF HIMSELF. 311
enough to discover that my informant was one of
the two whom I had interrupted in deadly conflict
about ten days before ; and you may be probably
less surprised than I was, on becoming acquainted
with the facts which transpired on my reaching the
little rotunda as directed. — By Jupiter, (said the
painter, striking the table forcibly with his
knuckles,) whom should I discover in close con-
ference with my mistress, but the other party — the
rival (as it appeared) of the individual who had
accosted me in the street.
My first impression was to rush upon the
usurper of my rights, and give him a sound
English drubbing ; but it suddenly struck me, that
with a little management, I might render my
revenge more perfect, and I resolved on being made
thoroughly acquainted with the real truth of the
matter, ere I proceeded to extremities. I there-
fore advanced within hearing, and, secreting my-
self behind the rotunda, learnt a few facts relating
to the intentions of my mistress, which tended very
materially to alter my own.
It appeared then that the gentleman was by no
means anxious of supplanting me in the honours of
matrimony, and merely aspired to the pleasures
which might arise from co-partnership. In short,
312 THE PAINTER'S
Sir, I was to be the husband, and he the lover, —
two very different characters in Italy, I assure you.
The lady had long listened to his suit, and had
also for a considerable period been subject to the
importunities of his less fortunate rival, who,
having failed in his attempt to despatch the
favoured lover, had kindly afforded me an oppor-
tunity of doing it for him. Perhaps he conceived
that as my interference had been the probable
cause of his rival's safety, my exasperation would
only be the more violent ; and, perceiving me to
be a tolerably sturdy fellow, he doubtless reckoned
on my thoroughly avenging both his wrongs and
No sooner was the state of the case fully appa-
rent, than my anger gave way to feelings of a
much more harmless nature; and love, extin-
guished on the instant, only left me to exult on
my very fortunate escape from misery and dis-
honour. So far from being mortified, I was, in
truth, much entertained at hearing their stealthy
conference; nor could I sufficiently admire the
delicacy and pathos with which the intended
Cicisbeo perused a sonnet of Petrarch's from an
elegantly bound volume which I had presented to
the lady, with a copy of verses, some days before.
ACCOUNT OF HIMSELF. 313
After conversing awhile, the gentleman proposed
that they should take a turn round the shrubbery.
They did so— leaving the volume of Petrarch upon
the seat of the rotunda.
Now, Sir, conceiving that as I had uselessly ex-
pended such a sum of affection, there could be no
harm in redeeming so paltry a present, I put the
little book into my pocket, and leaving the happy
pair to anticipate the joys which, as they had every
reason to expect, so shortly awaited them, I quietly
retreated from the garden as if nothing had tran-
Assuming both my best habit and most cheerful
looks, I visited my fair one that very evening at the
usual hour, nor evinced any alteration in my man-
ner or sentiments. She played her part with as
much warmth as ever, and I answered her endear-
ments with corresponding fervour. One thing alone
contributed to damp her joy. She had lost her
invaluable little volume of Petrarch. Still, how-
ever, she hoped to recover it ; for, she had some
idea " that a friend of her mother's had put it into
his pocket.'' Doubtless she conceived it was in the
possession of her inamorato.
On the morning of the following day, I procured
my passport ; and, having packed up my moveables
314 THE PAINTER'S
before nightfall, again visited the charming Signo-
rina. — " In forty hours more," said she, " I shall
be a wife !" — " In forty hours more," thought I,
" I shall be in Tuscany ."
I started by the mail the following morning ; and
while the lady expected my presence at the hymen-
eal altar, I was criticising the mutilated Graces in
the cathedral at Sienna.*
I proceeded from Sienna through Florence to
Bologna, where I remained for some time, and
thence continued my professional course to Venice.
Freed from the shackles of Cupid, I followed up
my favourite art with great application and some
success ; and I had nearly forgotten my Roman ad-
venture, when I accidentally heard of what had
befallen my mistress after my departure from the
In the first instance, the loss of her Petrarch had
given her much pain. In the second, the flight of
her intended husband had nearly overwhelmed her
senses. " Poor girl !" said the narrator (of course
ignorant that he was addressing a party so deeply
interested) — " Poor girl ! — she was long ere she
recovered the shock."
* This celebrated group is in the robing room of the cathedral.
ACCOUNT OF HIMSELF. 815
" But," said I, affecting to have heard some slight
report of the affair, " had not the Englishman
reason to doubt the truth of her affection for
" Affection ! Bah P exclaimed the Italian, " she
esteemed him for his talents and virtue, and would
have made him a good wife. You Englishmen
are so unreasonable. You cannot separate love and
admiration. In Italy a woman can give her duty
to her husband, while her beauty is rather directed
to her husb and? s friend. — The Italian gallant was a
handsome youth. It was impossible to love so ugly
a fellow as the Englishman."
" Pray, Sir," said I, " what eventually became
of her r
" Why, Sir, he replied, " her lover, being un-
able to obtain her on the terms he more particularly
desired, was at length content to receive her with
the encumbrances of matrimony : they have been
married some months.^
Wishing the happy couple all those joys which
I at one time fancied were likely to be mine, I sus-
pended all further thoughts upon the subject, and
invoked the aid of my muse, while I studied the
composition of a picture from the interesting ro-
mance of Romeo and Juliet — that charming history
316 the painter's
(be it false or genuine) in which we are presented
with so forcible a portraiture of maiden love and
The picture was scarcely finished, ere it attracted
the notice of a young English nobleman, who gazed
upon the face of Juliet in particular, as though it
bore a chance resemblance to some idol of his own.
In supposing such to be the case, I cannot imagine
that I was far from the truth ; else why should he
offer to purchase it on the proviso, that the nose of
the heroine, which was after the true Grecian mo-
del, should be altered in some measure to the simi-
litude of a snub ! I hesitated, but he was inflexible,
leaving me to choose between a straight line with
the chance of a more classical customer, and a
curved one with the immediate receipt of fifty
pounds. I took the latter.
Good fortune had not yet forsaken me. My
patron's recommendation brought me several pur-
chasers, and I meditated sending my uncle an offer
to paint his portrait gratis, when some temporary
relaxation of patronage might allow me sufficient
But I had soon a real motive for self-congratu-
lation in this particular. My father, after a long
continuance of prosperity, was doomed to encounter
ACCOUNT OF HIMSELF. 317
a very serious reverse^ and he wrote me a touching
letter, which urged the necessity of my abstaining
from all extravagance, as he feared he should be
unable any longer to allow me the extra provision
which he had hitherto afforded. I returned him
a cheering epistle, intimating that I stood no longer
in need of it ; and that I hoped, very shortly, to
have the means of repaying his paternal goodness
with more than expressions of filial gratitude — and
in truth (said the painter, warming as he spoke), he
stood in real need of my assistance ; for, (would
you believe it, Sir ?) that right liberal uncle of mine,
on being solicited for the aid of a trifling loan,
basely excused himself, and qualified his refusal by
compassionately remarking, that had I stuck to my
business as became a good apprentice^ I should
have been by this time a blessing instead of an in-
cumbrance to my parents.
My father, however, was in no want of friends,
and, though he never regained his former state of
affluence, he ultimately succeeded in acquiring a
moderate competency. I pursued my professional
studies with fair but varying success ; and having
sojourned a reasonable time at Venice, and the se-
veral towns in the north of Italy, I once more pro-
318 THE painter's
ceeded to my favourite Florence, to pay my devo-
tions to the Venus de Medici, and luxuriate in the
riches of the Pitti Palace.
During my stay in the Tuscan capital, the Carni-
val took place ; and I was too much aware of my
capacity for playing the fool in truth, to be above
assuming the cap and bells on an occasion like the
present. Most earnestly did I join in the revelry
of the masque, where fools without wit, harlequins
without grace, bandits without courage, and nuns
without chastity, contributed to the extravaganza.
Encountering an unmasked acquaintance, who had
merely mixed as a spectator in the throng, and to
whom I was much indebted for certain mischievous
inflictions at Venice, I so peppered his well-formed
physiognomy with sugar plums, that he was fain to
escape from the scene of action. My grudge, how-
ever, being satisfied, I civilly accosted him with a
" very good morrow," and earnest hopes " that
he had thoroughly enjoyed himself."
" I thank you," said he, " my pleasure has been
great ; but not without alloy. In the first place,
I have reason to congratulate myself on the invit-
ing courtesy with which a very lovely woman has
been indulging me from yonder window; and if
ACCOUNT OF HIMSELF. 319
some mischievous fellow had not — but, look !" said
he, pointing again towards the window, " there is
the very woman !"
On looking up, whom think you that I beheld ?
The faithless one of Rome ?
Even so, Sir ! There she was, throwing her spi-
rit-stirring glances upon my companion, who, to
say truth, was in every respect a highly favoured
man, — " fram'd to make women false."
In a few minutes, however, she suddenly disap-
peared, as if called away by some one within the
house ; and my companion, after waiting a consider-
able time, retired homewards sorely disappointed at
not having been enabled to complete an assignation.
Without letting him into my secret, I immedi-
ately retired to my lodgings, and in my best Italian
penned a note to the following effect : —
" With all the force of a coup de soleil thy beauty
bewildered my senses the moment I beheld thee.
Should it be thy intention to grace the masquerade
in the theatre this night, assume, I pr'ythee, the
habit of a nun, nor reject with scorn the proffered
benediction of a holy pilgrim.
" Ever thy devoted slave."
320 THE PAINTER^
Of course, she conceived this to be nothing less
than an invitation from the gallant whom she
had seen from the window ; and it was, doubtless,
under this supposition that she appeared at the
theatre disguised accordingly, remaining an inactive
member of the revel, till I approached her in my
cockled cap and sandal shoon. Having assumed
the visor of age, I also adapted my voice to the
character, and, after accompanying her two or
three times round the area of the theatre, I led her
into a private recess, at the back of the stage, and
requested her to seat herself beside me.
" What a poet is Petrarch," said I ; " how rich
in simile ! how delicate in sentiment ! how deep in
" Delicious !" exclaimed the lady.
" Vouchsafe, then/' I continued, taking from my
pocket the little volume which she had so much
reason to remember — " vouchsafe, then," said I,
" to receive from your devoted slave this trifling
testimony of his admiration. "
" Pazienza !" exclaimed the lady, " how came
you to the possession of this ?
" Pattern of virtue/' said I, unmasking, and re-
suming my natural voice, " I took it from the
rotunda in your garden at Rome, while you were
ACCOUNT OF HIMSELF. 321
rambling with your lover in the shrubbery ad-
Her surprise was great ; but her indignation
greater. "Hence," she exclaimed, "perfidious
traitor ! Hence ! or I will find those who shall
make you repent the fraud you have imposed upon
Of course, I was no more anxious to conciliate
her good opinion than to encounter her revenge.
Resuming my disguise, I solemnly bestowed upon
her my benediction, and left her to suffer under
the double weight of disappointment and mortifica-
tion. About three weeks after the conclusion of
the carnival, I bade adieu to Italy, and have never
been anxious to inquire further concerning my
first and only love.
Paris was my last continental resting place ; and
I found sufficient matter in the galleries of the
Louvre and Luxembourg, to induce a long stay in
the French capital. The Parisians, notwithstand-
ing their peculiarities, have a fine taste for the
arts; and if, in the execution of historical and
classical subjects, they evince not the vigour of the
old masters, they are scarcely inferior in apprecia-
tion and arrangement.
322 the painter's
I happened to be fortunate in a small copy from
" The Judgment of Brutus," a celebrated picture
by Thiers ; and was still more lucky in the chance
which brought it before the notice of Talma. He
sent me a polite note, requesting to know the price
I had set upon it ; and, on calling upon him with
my answer, the purchase was unhesitatingly com-
pleted. Eulogizing my professional talents, he
only regretted I did not more generally exert them
in the production of original works, and suggested
the illustration of a scene in some popular French
After several consultations with him upon the
subject, I finally determined on attempting a picture
from the play of Sylla. The celebrated tragedian
readily agreed to sit for the principal character,
and deeming it necessary for me to see him several
times upon the stage, he made me free of the
theatre for a season.
I was one evening present during the represen-
tation of Hamlet ; and, at the conclusion of the
first act, my right-hand neighbour (whom I had
not till now observed) asked me in pure English
how I liked the performance.
I admired it in general ; but hinted at a few
opportunities for giving more effect.
ACCOUNT OF HIMSELF. 323
" Ah I Sir,'' said my companion, " the finest
performance I had ever the good fortune to wit-
ness, took place in one of the minor theatres of
London. Your patent play-house frequenters
little think of the quackery they endure, and the
real pleasure they forfeit, in being dissuaded from
paying an occasional visit to the Cobourg or the
Surrey, the East or the West London theatres. It
was at the latter, Sir (a deserted establishment in
Tottenham-street), that I once saw Macbeth en-
acted in such a manner, as to make me anticipate
that the ghost of the flattered Shakspeare might
usurp the ' stool' of the murdered Banquo."
" I pr'ythee do not mock me, fellow student,"
said I, gradually recognizing the person of the
Tottenham manager. " Remember, that if I did
play the fool, I paid dearly for the privilege."
Agreeably to an invitation which I had given
him, the manager called upon me the following
morning, to see the sketch of my picture from the
tragedy of Sylla.
" I observe," said he, " that you intend to intro-
duce a number of figures in the back-ground of
your painting : now, Sir, if you are in want of a
subject for a head, I shall be happy to sit for you."
324 the painter's
" In want of a subject !" I exclaimed : " Sir,
the corps dramatique of Paris, is by no means few
in numbers, and certainly there is not one among
them who will fancy himself dishonoured by ap-
pearing on the same canvass with Talma. Happy
are they whose countenances are suitable to the
dignity of my subject, and whose figures," said I,
regarding the diminutive person of the manager,
" are adapted to the majesty of tragedy. Such as
are fortunate in these essential particulars, I have
not overlooked : others, less favoured (but not less
ambitious), have been ready to purchase the
honour : and when you shall be content to refund
the ten pounds which you received from me four
years back in the green room of the Tottenham
theatre, I will then listen to your proposals. I am
in no want of models, I assure you !"
Sweet was this opportunity of revenge. I re-
collected well the managerial pomposity with which
he had treated me when I proposed myself as the
representative of Macbeth, and was resolved to
assume in turn a corresponding magnificence. All
was done, however, in perfect good humour ; and
the manager, though refused a place in my picture,
condescended to accept one at my dinner-table. His
ACCOUNT OF HIMSELF. 325
conversation proved, at least, highly entertaining,
and that was fortunate, for he talked incessantly.
Supporting his colloquial volubility by plentiful
potations of claret, he gave me a history of his life
and adventures, which might serve as the ground-
work of a fair novel, did they not bear too strong
a resemblance to several tales already published
upon the same subject.
Having made free with the bottle, he ultimately
afforded additional evidence to the truth of that
maxim, which forbids much familiarity even with
our best friend ; and, after threading with con-
siderable difficulty the intricacies of a cork-screw-
staircase, he rolled along the Boulevardes in search
of his lodging.
And now, Sir, I have little more to say upon
the subject of self. My picture, on being com-
pleted, was bought by an ardent admirer of Talma;
and I returned to my native country with a con-
siderable augmentation of fortune and of fame.
That rambling disposition with which I was born,
is not yet extinct ; and it will, perhaps, be long ere
I establish myself in what may be termed a home.
Wherever I go, I generally obtain some patronage ;
and being (although a painter) of provident habits,
326 THE PAINTER'S account of himself.
I doubt not but that I shall have acquired a tolera-
ble competency by the time when it may suit my
inclination to settle in peace. — Now, Sir, if you
please, I will introduce you to my picture gallery.
SHACKELL AND BAYLIS, JOHNSONS-COURT, FLEET-STREET.
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